Kettering restaurant defies odds in location that was thought to be doomed

Arepas & Co Colombian eatery celebrates 5th anniversary in space where many others failed

The Arepas & Co Colombian restaurant in Kettering has driven a stake through the heart of the bad rap its building had as a "graveyard of restaurants" by celebrating its 5th anniversary this year — a far longer run than any of its predecessors, of which there were many.

>> Local boy who got his wish to meet Gordon Ramsay leaves gift to world after death

The building at 1122 E.  Dorothy Lane had earned a reputation as a doomed space for restaurants, since no fewer than a half-dozen eateries had opened and closed there within a few years prior to March 2014, when Arepas & Co founders J.P. and Lisa Perdomo decided they might be able to succeed where others had failed. The restaurant is tucked behind another business with which it shares a driveway, and it has limited visibility from East Dorothy Lane, especially for eastbound traffic.

>> RELATED: Daytonians of the Week: restaurant founders J.P. and Lisa Perdomo

“I was afraid when we first started five years ago that we would be a laughingstock within about six weeks after we opened,” Lisa Perdomo acknowledged with a smile. “But we’re still here, and no one’s laughing.”

The store will celebrate throughout the month of August with giveaways, special events and live music, Perdomo said.

>> FUNK RELIEF: Four legendary Dayton bands to throw concert for tornado relief

Perdomo and her husband started their restaurant business in the Second Street Market in downtown Dayton in 2012, using the market as an incubator and a springboard to open free-standing locations. In addition to the Kettering location, they now operate restaurants at 1000 Miamisburg-Centerville Road east of the Dayton Mall and at 416 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton, the site of the former Olive restaurant that still carries historic Wympee signage.

>> RELATED: Arepas & Co. to open its 4th Dayton-area Colombian restaurant (June 2017)

The restaurant owner credited excellent customer service, help from her family (including her sister and brother-in-law) and support from customers on social media with helping the Kettering Arepas to succeed where other restaurant owners could not.

“Word of mouth is the best advertising in the world,” Perdomo said.

Arepas & Co. specializes in comfort foods from different regions of Colombia, South America, including Arepas, Empanadas, Mazorca, Yuca Fries, and Choclo. For more information, check out the Arepas & Co's Facebook page.

About the Author