This interview is part of a series celebrating Cuban-American business owners in Miami. For the full list, click here.
+ What does Miami mean to you and why is it so important?
- Miami was the city that offered my family an opportunity when they came to this country to create a livelihood and a future for ourselves. My grandparents started a textile company a million years ago, my grandmother started the company in her apt with 500 yards of textile. She sold their jeans..had one sewing machine, had two sewing machines. She kept making jeans. Then they had three factories – two in the DR and one here. Miami is the reason why that was possible.
+ How did you get started with your business?
- I am the Chef and owner of Ark Hospitality. Ariete is our flagship restaurant in Coconut grove. What I do is try to keep our culture and heritage alive thru food. And really ambiance and feel is a part of our concepts of who we are and what we do. We want Ariete to feel like a restaurant that only a person from Miami can produce. Feel, vibe, food – they are distinct – because it is inherently who we are and where we’re from.
+ Has it always been your dream to own your own business?
- Owning my own restaurant was a dream from a very young age. I started working as a server and a host and a bar back at the age of 18 – i thought that I really enjoyed the restaurant wold so I thought i would make a thing out of it.
+ What are some of your recent successes?
- Success – such a heavy word. The success really I think it lands in the formation of Ark Hospitality as a whole – giving the opportunity to work with some of my best friends every day is really rare. I would say that that’s success.
+ Who are some of your favorite businesses in CITY?
- Oh man, Miami is such a mixed bag of great things. Vice City Bean, Tinta y Café, The Seven Dials, Stanzione, Sweat Records and Technique records.
+ Any advice for others out there who’d like to start their own business?
- It’a s scary world. You will more often than not feel alone but you’re not. You really really really have to love it – if you don’t love what you do, you won’t make it. There’s days where you’re just like “Why am I doing this – why am I pulling a bad paycheck?” Just to say that it’s yours. The biggest thing for me is that Ariete is my opportunity to have a conversation with random people who I don’t even know – It’s weird, it’s like me. The fact that I can do that and maybe it’ll have an impact on someone down the road is what’s the most important for me.