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Focus Stories

Stefano’s Trattoria 2020

by Susan Shalhoub

Featured Photo from Stefano’s Trattoria 2020

Stefano’s Trattoria in Winter Springs always does what’s best for its customers and its employees. The 2018 renovation to update the restaurant’s furniture and floors made the location nicer for all, for example. And then there’s the food. Stefano’s consistently turns out the Oviedo-Winter Springs community’s favorite Italian classics like Calamari Fritti, Pomodori Caprese, Tortellini Di Stefano, Ravioli, Cannelloni Florentine, Veal Alla Piccata, and Pizza Braccio Di Ferro, all of which bring the taste of Old Italy right here to Central Florida.

Service and quality standards are high, and should anything fall short of a diner’s expectations, it is handled swiftly and fairly. This commitment to excellence is what gives Stefano’s its stellar reputation. And never was that reputation on better display than during the coronavirus crisis.

Weathering the Storm
Stefano’s Owner Alejandro Martinez and his team at the restaurant function like family. They eat lunch together every day, and no one must clock out to enjoy the break or the meal. When the coronavirus hit, Alejandro knew he – like so many business owners in our community – was in for a struggle. He did everything he could to keep as many employees on payroll as possible, because he knew local families were depending on those wages.

“I am the type of person who believes that people are the core of a business,” Alejandro says. “We try to do what’s good for business and try to protect  our workers.”

Many regular Stefano’s customers are also like family, and they’re thrilled the delightful dining room is open once again, but Alejandro knows delivery and pickup will continue to be the new pillars of his business for the foreseeable future. Those orders were once 10%-30% of Stefano’s business, but they’re now about 80%, Alejandro says. He’s pivoted accordingly, making a recent switch to more convenient to-go packaging, for example.

“This has given us an opportunity to try new things,” says Alejandro. “People are flexible, and customers tell me what is working and what is  not working.”

At first, Alejandro made the deliveries personally. If nothing else, it gave him a chance to let customers know how much their business meant during the height of the crisis. Today, with delivery business booming, Uber Eats and DoorDash are handling the logistics. 

And though the basics of his business have changed, Alejandro continues to believe people are what make the difference.
“We offer something for everyone,” he says. “A Kids’ Menu, gluten-free options. We’re here for you, because the community was there for us.”

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