Located only 1.1 miles away from our cozy little campus is an incredible Colombian food experience you should not miss.
Arepas & Co is nothing big or flashy but boasts comforting Colombian food. Lisa Perdomo is the owner of the restaurant and her brother-in-law Mike Martin is the supervisor.
The idea for Arepas & Co was born in 2012 after Perdomo and her husband returned from his birthplace in Cartagena, Columbia.
While there they experienced incredible, traditional Colombian dishes, and learned how to make them in their own home. Once they came home, they craved those same meals they came to love but could not find them, as no one made authentic Colombian cuisine.
This inspired them to take it upon themselves to bring that experience to Dayton. They wanted to bring the flavors from their kitchen to the public. They did so by opening the first Arepas & Co at Dayton’s 2nd Street Market.
“I knew there was a market for this food, and I saw that there was nothing like this in Dayton,” Perdomo said. “Seeing there was a vacancy of these options, I took the gamble and started Arepas & Co.”
The gamble paid off, as there are now three Arepas & Co locations in the Dayton area.
Her background as a financial aid director has prepared her for interacting with customers on a constant basis, which is a part of the job she enjoys greatly.
“My favorite part is standing up at the register talking to our customers,” Perdomo said.
Perdomo and her staff also have plans to try to give back to the community, especially Sinclair students.
She is in the middle of talks to try and start an internship for Sinclair culinary arts students and graduates. They can come and work at the restaurant for class credit and gain experience in a fast paced diner style.
Brandon Travis, a 2011 Sinclair graduate, is currently working at Arepas & Co.
“I really enjoy working here,” Travis said. “It is fast paced, but has a relaxed tone and theme that the owners try to instill from the culture of the food.”
Arepas & Co is steadily growing and Perdomo is thinking about the future. Options being explored include food trucks, catering, online ordering and a delivery service.
“The food truck scene is still very young in Dayton,” Perdomo said. “It only kicked off two years ago. We’re thinking about starting a food truck because we cater a lot. With a truck we can bring the catering to our customers more easily.”
The 2nd Street Market Arepas & Co closed last month, with a statement from from arepasandco.us stating “We believe it is time to give someone else an opportunity to pursue her dreams by taking over our spot.”
They now have locations in Kettering, (Opened in 2014) Downtown Dayton (Opened in 2016) and a new location in Washington Township, across from the Dayton Mall. (Opened this year)
Perdomo sees that Arepas & Co is growing quickly in popularity and is excited to see where they will go in the near future. She may be uncertain on what the future holds but she knows it’s going to be delicious!
Justin A. Baker