WALLINGFORD — After years of helping run her family’s Ecuadorian restaurant in Meriden, Stephanie Guartan is opening a second location in Wallingford this month.
She is aiming to open La Azogueñita Deli & Juice Bar, 211 S. Colony Road, on Aug. 23.
“We think it’s a good way to expand the family business, the family name,” she said. La Azogueñita Deli is named after the city where Guartan’s parents are from in Ecuador.
The building was most recently occupied by Roscoe’s Traveling Smokehouse, and Anthony’s Sub Shop before that.
Guartan’s family opened their first restaurant in Meriden almost four years ago, under the same name. The family will operate the new location together, with Stephanie Guartan at the helm. Guartan’s mother will join her day to day in Wallingford and her father and brother will work in Meriden for the most part.
The Meriden deli, 448 Center St., offers a buffet-style array of Ecuadorian food, as well as Italian dishes, a deli counter, breads, and juice bar. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“Everyday we have something different going on,” Guartan said.
Some of the food options, which vary, include yellow rice, ox tail, chicken marsala, pasta dishes, steamed vegetables and more. The pulled pork and salmon are best sellers, Guartan said.
Guartan said her father Jose, with 25 years experience as a chef, usually cooks the Italian food and her mother, Rosario Youri, focuses on the Ecuadorian specials.
Guartan plans to put her stamp on the Wallingford spot by focusing more on fresh, natural juices, with a smaller version of the buffet available as well.
“I know a lot of people now are interested in a healthy lifestyle so I think it would be a good thing to bring,” said Guartan, who is also a first year medical student.
When the opportunity presented itself, the 24-year-old decided to take a break from medical school and open the deli in Wallingford. She plans to become a gynecologist.
The Wallingford building is smaller, with four tables indoors. There will also be outdoor tables, Guartan said.
Guartan said the juices are pressed with fresh produce, per order.
The popular “Asthma” juice includes a mix of green apple, carrots, ginger and lemon. In Meriden, the menu includes about a dozen juices, plus smoothies and sweeter drinks, but Guartan hopes to expand it even more at the Meriden deli.
Meriden resident and artist Mark Lawrence stopped in Friday for his usual order of a turkey, egg and cheese sandwich and “green juice.”
“I love this spot,” he said. “They have great food, they're great people, I come over here all the time.”
Jose Guartan, the primary owner of the Meriden business and father of three, said he’s very happy to see the business expand with his daughter and hopes his son opens a third someday too.
Guartan said they choose Wallingford partly out of convenience, since it would be so close to the Meriden spot, but also because they saw a niche to fill.
“I hope (people) continue to support us as they have in the Meriden location,” she said.
Guartan hopes to do a grand opening special. The deli’s Facebook page will have details. They plan to be open everyday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.