Arepas come to the Octagon as Pana takes Abbott Square spot

Pana Venezuelan Food is now serving its menu of stuffed arepas inside the Octagon at Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

German and Gaby Sierra have brought their popular Venezuelan food truck fare to a brick-and-mortar space downtown ... and don’t worry, their new venture won’t cut into the trucks’ schedules around Santa Cruz County.

This story was originally featured in this week’s Lily Belli on Food newsletter. Be first the first to hear about food and drink news in Santa Cruz County — sign up for Lily’s email newsletter here and text alerts here.

Attention, mis panas — Pana Food Truck has a new location inside the Octagon at Abbott Square Market in downtown Santa Cruz. This is the first brick-and-mortar spot for the successful food truck, named after the colloquial Spanish word meaning “friend” or “homie” in Venezuela. Pana launched in 2019 with a menu of Venezuelan arepas stuffed to bursting with cheese, shredded chicken, black beans, fried plantains and more, with homemade garlic, avocado or spicy sauces. Pana offers its full menu of arepas at its two food trucks, often seen throughout the county, and owners German and Gaby Sierra say they plan to add new menu items once they get their feet under them.

Pana took the place of taco kiosk Vamonos Comida and shares the space with Japanese restaurant Daisuki Octagon Sushi. It will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. Watch for a grand opening once the weather improves.

The Octagon is a perfect fit, says Gaby, because the intimate open space still allows her and German to talk to customers in the same way they do at the food truck window. As she flattens soft balls of masa onto a hot griddle with her fingers, she says, “It’s basically the same space. We can still talk, connect and explain and share Venezuelan cuisine.” Best of all, the new location at the Octagon will not affect the food truck schedule — both food trucks will continue to operate the pop-up and catering services as usual. More info at