Marco and Erica Sesma have wanted to run a breakfast restaurant since opening their first restaurant Ripon in 2017.
Marco has over a decade of experience in breakfast restaurants, including eight years at Two Brothers Family Restaurant in Oshkosh.
“I know how to cook breakfast,” he said. “… When we got here it was supposed to be a breakfast restaurant.”
However, when the Sesma family opened their first Ripon restaurant at 800 West Fond du Lac St., it was a Mexican restaurant because community members asked them to bring their style of Mexican cuisine to Ripon from their restaurant. Mexican already established in Oshkosh.
After opening El Fogón Mexican Grill in 2017, the Sesma family moved down the street to 1300 West Fond du Lac St., with an expanded menu and a new name: Aromas Bar & Grill.
Five years later, the Sesmas are about to finally open their breakfast restaurant.
The family hopes to open the Red Roof Cafe & Breakfast at 800 W. Fond du Lac St. the last weekend in March.
Red Roof intends to be open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“It’s always something we looked at, but with the second building there’s an opportunity for that,” Erica said. “We’re just bringing our skills to Ripon, hoping the community will accept it.”
The Sesmas tried to sell the building at 800, rue Fond du Lac Ouest, but had some difficulty finding a buyer.
Erica noted that the family wanted to keep the building active, rather than let it sit, so they decided to open a second restaurant in Ripon.
“We weren’t sure if we were selling it or keeping it,” she said. “But we are very confident of what we have to offer. … It adds another option, and our staff are very knowledgeable when it comes to breakfast.
Likewise, Marco thinks the addition of another business west of Ripon is good for the community.
“More business coming to Ripon is better for everyone,” he said. “It helps bring more people to Ripon.”
The Red Roof Cafe & Breakfast aims to offer a traditional breakfast menu, as well as some lunch favorites.
Food offered for breakfast will include eggs, pancakes, waffles, French toast, hash browns, sausages, bacon and more.
While Red Roof will offer similar dishes to other breakfast restaurants in Ripon, she added that the company will put its own twist on breakfast favorites.
“We’re going to have similar food to other places on the road, but we’re just bringing our taste to it,” Erica said. “I feel like people will have favorites there and they will have favorites here. Customers keep coming; it’s just another option.
Likewise, Marco noted that Red Roof will aim to make its food unique from other breakfast restaurants in town.
“It’s going to taste different because there are different ways to cook different things,” he said.
On the lunch menu, Red Roof will offer sandwiches, burgers, soups, salads and more.
While the Sesma family are delighted to open another restaurant in Ripon, the process has not been without its difficulties.
They renovated the building and ordered new equipment. Supply chain hurdles caused delays in receiving materials and labor shortages made it somewhat difficult to find staff.
“It’s hard to find all the supplies we need,” Marco said. “It’s really hard. … Everything is two to three months behind schedule.
Despite the obstacles, the family’s enthusiasm for making a dream come true is contagious.
“I finally realize my dream [come true]”, said Marco. “My intention is not [to create] competition in Ripon. It’s just something I want to do.
Marco added that business is good at Aromas and he is grateful to the community for their support.
“It’s a family business,” he said, noting that the family held various roles in the kitchen, bartender, servers and more. “My vision is to do whatever my family can for the community.”
This support from the Aromas community is one of the reasons the Sesmas felt comfortable opening another restaurant in Ripon.
“With the support of the community, we were able to grow,” Erica said.
She added that the atmosphere at Red Roof Cafe & Breakfast will be similar to Aromas.
“They [customers] will see a lot of effort in both places,” Erica said. “It’s kind of scary because they’re two companies, and it’s hard to make one. But we are confident with what we bring and we are confident that people will like what we have to offer.