Abuela's Kitchen opens in Downtown Urbana

If you’re looking to expand your palate with some Latin American flare, then just make the quick trip to Monument Square in Urbana.

Abuela’s Kitchen, now open at 23 Monument Square, has just what you’re craving along with that welcoming feeling of being at Grandma’s (Abuela’s) house.

Matt Davis and his wife Lizi, who originally hails from Venezuela, met while working together. They both share a love for cooking.

Originally, Matt says, the couple had hoped to start with a food truck or restaurant in Mechanicsburg, where they live. However, after learning of the corner space available on the Square in Urbana, they opted for a brick-and-mortar option.

“We fell in love with the location,” he says.

Abuela’s Kitchen opened for business in April with Lizi heading up the kitchen.

Outside seating will be available when the weather permits.

“We have a set menu but are going to try to use Sundays as a ‘switch it up’ kind of day, featuring brunch and the traditional Venezuelan soup: sancocho,” says Matt.

The community support in Urbana has been amazing and welcoming, he says.

Amber Smith, president of the Urbana Downtown Merchants Association, says everyone in town is buzzing about the new restaurant on the Square and is excited to welcome Abuela’s Kitchen.

“There is so much energy pouring into our downtown from lots of entrepreneurs and people that want to invest in their community,” says Smith. “We are really proud that all of our shops and eateries are locally-owned, one-of-a-kind establishments, and Abuela’s is a great addition that will give locals and visitors one more reason to come visit us in Downtown Urbana!”

Matt says he and Lizi want customers to come in and have a relaxed, home cooked feeling while they are in the restaurant.

“Everything is fresh and made from scratch,” says Lizi. “We love flavor! We invite the community to try different food.”

Abuela’s Kitchen is in the process of obtaining a liquor license, and they plan to serve Cuba Libre (traditional rum and coke) slushies. The restaurant offers some gluten free and vegetarian options, as well.

“It’s not Mexican (food) and it’s not spicy,” says co-owner Matt Davis with a laugh. “There is hot sauce available if you ask for it.”

Abuela’s Kitchen is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant is closed on Wednesdays.

Read more articles by Darci Jordan.