Mi Apá Latin Café is set to open in Alachua at 15634 NW Highway 441 in the Rolling Oaks Plaza adjacent to the Hitchcocks Market area. The restaurant will be fashioned after Gainesville’s Mi Apá Latin Café, offering the same menu items.
ALACHUA – Alachua will soon be getting a bit more flavorful as it expands its culinary offerings.
Mi Apá Latin Café will be opening a location in the area Monday. The Cuban restaurant serves breakfast, sandwiches, hot entrees and desserts. Some of the menu offerings that will be available in the Alachua restaurant include chicken fricassee, Cuban sandwiches, and bread pudding.
Owner Pete Ynigo said arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) and roasted pork are the most popular items. The restaurant offers inexpensive food and disposable ware, but employs waiters and waitresses.
He said the restaurant is in-between fast food and upscale restaurants.
“We’re kind of in the middle, and that’s what we want to be,” he said.
Ynigo opened the first cafe in Gainesville 10 years ago. He said he first thought of opening a restaurant in Alachua five or six years ago, but he said it didn’t work out until this year.
“We know Alachua has growth,” he said. “It has more growth in the future.”
He said one reason he decided to bring the restaurant to Alachua is because the city is welcoming.
“It was very appealing to us that Alachua is known to be business-friendly,” he said.
The Gainesville location is currently the only cafe. He said the Alachua restaurant will allow the business to test out expansion.
“It’s a big test for us to see if a multi-unit business is a way to go,” he said.
He said the response from Alachua residents has been “amazing.”
“I think our product fits Alachua perfectly,” he said. “We come across very casually and relaxed. Our value for what we give you is very good.”
The Alachua restaurant will be a replica of the Gainesville cafe, down to the menu, paint and decorations. While Ynigo wanted a drive-through in the Alachua restaurant, he said he couldn’t find a suitable location.
The Gainesville location stays open until midnight Friday and Saturday, and the Alachua location will close at 10 p.m. on weekends.
He said the restaurant will be so similar to the Gainesville location because it’s worked so far.
“It’s working,” he said. “Why change it if it ain’t broke?”
He said Monday’s opening is a soft launch, and a grand opening is scheduled down the road. The restaurant will use existing staff members in the beginning, but he said they will be hiring new employees soon.
“We’re super excited about being in Alachua, and we’ll see how it goes,” he said.
The Alachua Mi Apá Latin Café will be located at 15634 NW Highway 441 in the Rolling Oaks Plaza adjacent to the Hitchcocks Market area in Alachua Towne Center.
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