Excellent Restaurant

As diners walk into Excellent Restaurant, they are hit by the sweet aroma of fresh arepas, a corn bread staple in Venezuelan cuisine. The restaurant, a new dining hotspot in downtown Reading, merges the cuisines and cultures of its two creators, the couple Mariselyn Rodriguez and Porfirio Taveras. Mariselyn is originally from Venezuela, while her husband is Dominican. They celebrated their grand opening on May 18th, 2015 with the City of Reading’s Mayor Vaughn Spencer and City Councilmen Francis Acostas and Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz, Community First Fund, and the SBDC in attendance.

The opening was a long time coming. The project took a year and a half from its conception through to its opening. Mariselyn and Porfirio persevered through the challenges to get their property code-compliant and to receive the necessary permits. Through their hard work and dedication, they were finally able to fulfill their vision and bring a new cuisine to Reading’s restaurant scene. Since opening they have created six jobs, two full-time and four part-time.

This business is not the first one for the couple. They have been successful with their established Excellent Express Transportation, which doubles now as a delivery for their new restaurant. During the fall of 2013, Mariselyn participated in the Latino Business Resource Center’s Spanish-language Business Skills for Success for Latino Entrepreneurs course. Through the course and additional one-on-one assistance, the SBDC helped Mariselyn to lay the groundwork for the restaurant, including completing a business plan and financial projections. She credits the class for helping her to make valuable connections, such as with Community First Fund who extended her a $25,000 loan.

Mariselyn says, “Gracias to the LBRC. All of the connections that I made through the class helped to turn this into a reality.” Beyond the loan, the couple invested more than $70,000 of their own money towards the property and renovations.