ocated at the corner of 10th and Spring Garden streets, just a few doors down from a shooting range and the site of the first Hershey’s candy store, the restaurant has served traditional Venezuelan food with a healthy twist since opening in 2004. “Latin food without the heart attack,” Campbell calls it. Suzarra-Campbell grinds the flour for the arepas - corn patties stuffed with various savory fillings – by hand. She only uses corn or olive oil for frying and also offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. The Patacon, the restaurant’s number one selling dish, is a tower of freshly grilled vegetables sandwiched between two saucer-sized tostones, which are fried green plaintain cakes. It requires some strategizing before digging in. Tip: start at the bottom to avoid an avalanche of vegetables on your plate – and the table. Sazon features other traditional dishes including empanadas, arroz con pollo and asado negro, a dish of slow-cooked beef coated in a thick, sweet brown sugar syrup. Dessert offerings include three-milk cake, flan and churros with chocolate sauce for dipping, as well as a long list of hot chocolate combinations that range from the Clasico to the Smurf (with blueberry port wine and blueberry cream). Campbell, who used to steal money out of his dad’s jeans pocket to buy chocolate, also added another combo that hasn’t made it on the menu yet, the Unnamed. Inspired by a recent performance by The Slackers at Union Transfer, Campbell blended his drinking chocolate, which he roasts himself, with Knob Creek bourbon, star anise and apricot cream.
ampbell credits the opening of Union Transfer with filling an additional 25 tables per week. “I thought it was going to be nothing but goofy kids and hippies with no money,” says Campbell. “I like how eclectic they are, how they’re bringing in people from all over the world.” John Taylor of the '80s supergroup Duran Duran recently ate at Sazon. Owning a restaurant seems second nature to Campbell and his wife. She grew up making arepas from the time she was old enough to see over the stove. He grew up with a mother who made 25 different types of cookies at Christmas time. “I got spoiled from having a mom who cooked good food from scratch,” Campbell says. “I had holes in my Converses but we ate good food.” Sazon (sazonrestaurant.com) is open for dinner from Tuesday through Sunday, and serves brunch on weekends, starting at 11 a.m. To make a reservation call (215) 763-2500.