A Gas Station Phenomenon
A few weeks back we were able to munch on some late night dishes at El Arepazo 2.
El Arepazo 2 originated in Doral and since then it has expanded and has become a mini chain of three restaurants.
Here is what Lorenzo Di Stefano Jr. had to share with us.
THP: If I’m not mistaken El Arepazo began in a gas station in Doral, where was the idea born? What was your mission?
LS: Yes, El Arepazo was born in a gas station. El Arepazo began when my family moved to Miami from Venezuela, my father was looking to buy a running business and he decided to purchase the gas station, land, and El Arepazo. At that time the restaurant sales were very poor but he saw a future here.
My father’s mission was to put in the hard work because he believed it would eventually pay back. In the original Arepazo the partners were my father and my uncle, they ran the business for about 5 years until they had an accident. One morning we received a call explaining that the restaurant had caught on fire, we rushed to the restaurant but it was too late there was nothing we could’ve done, everything was lost. In order to keep the restaurant’s name in the market my father and uncle decided to open El Arepazo2 in a nearby location. After about 17 months of operating El Arepazo2 we were able to re-open El Arepazo in the gas station and at that time my father and uncle decided to go their separate ways.
My father had the business vision of growing and opening more locations and my uncle wanted to stay in the gas station. Around the time when my father stayed with El Arepazo2 I graduated from the University of Miami and decided to help my father grow the business. In the past two years we’ve open two new locations and started a food factory and distribution center.
THP: What is the concept of el arepazo?
LS: The concept of El Arepazo2 is constantly evolving it’s in the early stages but our goal is to become a cooler and nicer Venezuelan arepera, so far a concept that has not been created. As of now, our Brickell location is the most gourmet in style as opposed to our Doral and Weston locations which are more fast and casual. Our main goal is to create the perfect fast casual ambiance and in the upcoming years start franchising.
THP: What is your favorite dish in El Arepazo?
LS: My favorite dish is definitely the arepa with Guayanes cheese and the Reina Pepiada. It’s all about simply delicious Venezuelan flavors.
THP: What are the future plans of El Arepazo?
LS: We are currently in the phase of growing our food factory and updating the equipment in order to be able to supply a bigger chain of restaurants. Along with upgrading our factory we are working with franchise specialists in polishing our company manuals for procedures and policies so we can create the same experience in all of our locations. After these two goals are accomplished we’ll go into our second phase of expansion.