Just as the new sign was going up, the highly anticipated Jibaro's Pit Stop opened its doors on Madison Avenue this week.
The “soft opening” has been anything but slow, said co-owner Elvis Serrano.
“We’ve had a great crowd,” Serrano said. “Everyone seems to like it. We had a couple of hiccups, but we seem to have the kinks worked out.”
Customers — some of them neighbors — stopped by to introduce themselves on Wednesday.
Many of the neighbors remember the other pizza shops that have tried their luck in the space at 14201 Madison Avenue during the past couple years. There have been three of ‘em: C-Town Pizza, Rosario’s and most-recently, Zappitelli’s on Madison.
One after the other, they’ve all gone closed.
That doesn’t matter to Serrano.
The owner of the successful Jibaro food truck says that his pizza shop will be different. For starters, the Jibaro Pit Stop and Pizza Shop will offer other items in addition to pizza — think Cuban sandwiches, burritos, plantains and rice and beans.
Serrano said he plans to add new menu items soon.
He recently told Lakewood Patch that the space will serve as a brick-and-mortar base for the truck — complete with a full-sized kitchen.
That means that the business isn’t as dependent on the walk-in and delivery traffic as the other pizza shops that have come and gone.
“We wanted to expand our business to be able to cater more,” Serrano said. “For the last two years, I’ve been prepping, cooking and catering from the truck. We managed, but it was hard.”
Serrano, who will run the restaurant with his wife Lorna, and his brother Saul Serrano, said that Jibaro is a perfect fit for Lakewood.
The restaurant’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The phone number is 216-227-9277.