Previous to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting in March, Victor Alvarez and Carlos Jimenez had been each working as part-time DJs, along with Alvarez holding down a job at a regulation agency and Jimenez proudly owning a development firm.
After their DJ gigs dried up and Alvarez was laid off by the regulation agency, they started to noticeably speak about opening their first restaurant collectively. In April, Massive Papi’s, a taco restaurant within the Business Lane Enterprise Park close to Frederick, grew to become a actuality.
“Ninety-nine p.c of the individuals thought me and my companion had been loopy,” Alvarez mentioned. “However I assumed it was the proper time to do one thing.”
Alvarez has labored within the restaurant trade for a few years. So all through the pandemic, whereas he was largely bored at residence, Alvarez experimented with totally different recipes and sorts of Mexican meals. He’d tweak recipes after making an attempt them and stayed on prime of latest social media meals crazes.
“Within the summertime I purchased a griddle at residence after which I simply began cooking outdoors and perfecting my recipes, after which every little thing simply was falling into place,” Alvarez mentioned. “The whole lot that we’re serving right here I personally cooked myself at residence to ensure it is high-quality.”
Jimenez and Alvarez discovered an ideal spot on Business Lane which nonetheless had restaurant gear from its final tenant. That helped them get a head begin, and so they had been capable of open in mid-December.
After a couple of weeks open, Alvarez mentioned the suggestions from the group has been wonderful. Many individuals suppose the restaurant is definitely a part of a sequence, which pleases Alvarez. He needs to franchise Massive Papi’s sooner or later.
“We truly are desirous about shopping for a meals truck subsequent month so we are able to begin selling it … ship it out to Virginia to start out scouting totally different locations the place we expect that subsequent Papi’s will probably be,” Alvarez mentioned.
His favourite merchandise on the menu is the birria tacos, that are crammed with braised beef that is been gradual cooked for 5 hours. It comes with a consomme for dipping, which Alvarez says he likes to eat like soup after he is performed along with his tacos.
Along with quite a lot of tacos, Massive Papi’s additionally serves a “quesabirria,” which is a 12-inch quesadilla pizza with the identical braised beef because the birria tacos. The meat additionally makes an look in a ramen dish. Sooner or later, Alvarez additionally hopes to develop the menu as soon as the employees have gotten a maintain of all the unique gadgets.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner service, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., however will probably be increasing its hours to eight p.m. on Jan. 4.
Massive Papi’s is presently working underneath take-out solely, partly due to the pandemic, but in addition as a result of the restaurant wants an up to date lavatory for dine-in service. Alvarez is ok with the way in which issues are actually, and mentioned the net ordering system has been working nicely.
“My staff are my No. 1 precedence, conserving them protected,” he mentioned.
Comply with Erika Riley on Twitter: @ej_riley