MERIDEN — Jorge Rendon worked catering at an Italian restaurant in Manhattan for 20 years before he moved to the city to open his own restaurant and store.
Frida, located on Lewis Avenue, opened in late 2019 and has been serving the community breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“My wife and I spent many years working for other people and we wanted to start our own business. Eventually, my experience at the restaurant drove me to open up my own,” Rendon said.
His wife, Magdalena Alberto, 41, previously worked making wigs for cancer patients for 20 years. She loved the job but her dream was to open a restaurant. She especially likes interacting with customers.
“I feel happy. I feel like this is what I always wanted and have always thought about, I always imagined myself having a business one day,” she said
Frida, located at the intersection with Springdale Avenue, was formerly home to Noiise Sports Bar, which closed after a shooting that injured three people in 2016.
Rendon was raised in Mexico but moved to New York when he was 20.
“Owning a restaurant is satisfying, I am able to interact with people and see how they respond to us and our business, it's a good feeling,” he said.
Various traditional Mexican entrees served at the restaurant include enchiladas, tacos, fajitas and quesadillas. They also have a juice bar for smoothies and natural juices.
Frida is full of vibrant yellow and orange colors. They have a dining section for eating, an area to make orders and a section where you can buy traditional Mexican groceries. Rendon runs the store and prepares the food himself with the help of his wife, but since the pandemic, the business has struggled.
“The pandemic has been hard on our business, when the pandemic started it affected us and we were rejected by pandemic assistance since we were only open three months before it started, I had to lay some people off,” he said.
Alberto added that said she feels like they are still struggling due to the reputation of Noiise Sports Bar.
Economic Development Director, Joseph Feest, encourages people to support the restaurant.
“It’s a great business, they have done a fantastic job, it’s convenient for everyone. I have had their breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he said.
The restaurant was named after the famous Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo.
“We named the restaurant Frida because of her strong character she was known for. My wife and I saw it as a perfect fit,” he said.
Frida is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.