Mateo Ramos, whose family owns a chain of nationally-recognized Mexican restaurants, is set to debut Casa Ramos, his first solo venture at the Shoppes at Amberly plaza.
Casa Ramos is slated to open in about a week in space previously occupied by Sushi Tsu Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar at 15363 Amberly Drive.
“I really love it here,” Ramos said. “I wanted to be closer to the water.”
Ramos, who lives in Orlando, has spent the past four years working for Burger King. He has served the past two years as a district manager in the Tampa area.
He recently decided he wanted to start his own enterprise. Ramos chose the New Tampa area because of its steady growth and proximity to interstates 4 and 75, an easy drive from Orlando.
“I had been looking all over the Tampa region. We wanted to grow into the Tampa market.”
Ramos, 34, who plans to move to New Tampa soon, is a member of a family that founded Azteca Mexican Restaurants in 1974.
During the company’s early years, Jose “Pepe” Ramos, owner and founder of Azteca recruited his three brothers, Hector, Jaime and Victor to move from Mexico to the United States to help him manage and run the first Azteca restaurant in Washington state. They grew the chain into a collection of about 50 Azteca Mexican Restaurants in Washington, Oregon and Florida. Hector Ramos is Mateo Ramos’s father.
“We are like a national family chain,” Ramos said, referring to Azteca and Casa Ramos Mexican restaurants.
Ramos’ cousin, Marco Ramos, launched the first Casa Ramos in Yreka, Calif., in 1997.
The 6,411-square-foot Tampa Palms location will employ from 25 to 30 people, including a few familiar faces, Ramos said.
Ramos has hired Adrian Jewel, former manager at the Sushi Tsu steakhouse, to work at the Casa Ramos.
“We are going to train him in Mexican cuisine,” Ramos said of the former Japanese steakhouse manager, known to many as “A.J.”
Casa Ramos will specialize in freshly-prepared, authentic Mexican dishes.
“We won’t microwave and we won’t take anything out of a box,” Ramos said. “Everything will be prepared fresh.”