Growing up in Venezuela, Ari Sliva had a passion for the culinary arts but said she never had the opportunity to pursue it in her home country.

Fifteen years after moving to the U.S., Sliva is an American citizen and pursuing her dreams through her food truck, Blended Bistro & Coffee Bar, which opened in March 2021.

Blended Bistro & Coffee Bar operates in a semipermanent location in Conroe off North Frazier Street. Previously, the coffee truck was at a site in Montgomery.

The eatery serves up classic Venezuelan dishes such as empanadas and arepas as well as a full coffee bar that offers Venezuelan-inspired lattes. However, Sliva said she adds an American twist.

She said she wanted to share her homestyle food but didn’t want to shock American palates.

“I base all of my food on things I tried before, things my mom used to cook, things that are traditional Venezuelan, but I’m also married to a white guy,” Sliva said. “So because we are a blended family, that is where the name came from.”

Although she moved to the U.S. 15 years ago, Sliva was approved for U.S. citizenship in March 2022. Sliva said when she came to America she pursued her master’s degree, never believing she would be able to also pursue her passion for food.

“My country never provided the opportunities that I have here,” Sliva said. “I love my culture, and I love this country.”

Sliva said she hopes to open a brick-and-mortar storefront, which would still offer Latin-infused food but with a more elaborate menu than what can be offered in the food truck. Sliva said once designated as a women-owned business by the state—which she plans to apply for soon—she could receive federal funding, will look for an investor and then will begin looking for a possible permanent location.

“My concept is where you get good food, you get good coffee,” Sliva said. “I feel like if I can get a good cup of coffee at the end of my meal, I will be happy.”

3 owner favorites
  • The Cocosette latte ($6) is made with coconut and dulce de leche and can be served as an iced or hot drink.
  • The tres leches latte ($6) combines condensed milk, evaporated milk and whole milk, and can be served iced or hot.
  • The empanadas ($10.50) come in either beef or chicken. Gluten-free and vegan options are available.
Blended Bistro & Coffee Bar
  • 539 N. Frazier St., Conroe
  • 713-907-9634
  • Facebook: Blended Bistro and Coffee Bar
  • Hours: Tue.-Fri. 8 a.m.-2 p.m., Thu.-Fri. 5-8 p.m.; Sat.-Mon. closed; available for private events Saturdays