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Daily Inspiration: Meet Steph Rios

Today we’d like to introduce you to Steph Rios. 

Hi Steph, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
My husband and I moved to San Diego in January when we got married. We come from a minority-majority town in central California and couldn’t find our footing in Mission Valley. When we discovered Barrio Logan, we felt right at home. The vibrance of the neighborhood spoke to us. 

His mother’s family is from Hawaii, and my parents are from Mexico. Three days before my husband’s twenty-sixth birthday, his mom cooked a special birthday dinner: sweet and sour meatballs. She planned for him to pick it up on his birthday and enjoy the meal together, but unfortunately, she suffered an unexpected stroke and passed away. Two days later, he sat in his kitchen, heating up the final gift his mother gave him, that special meal, and that baseline recipe became the start of our diverse menu. 

Our mole sauce is a family recipe that my mother taught me, and our Asian offerings show the beautiful melting pot of Hawaii and my husband’s family’s deep heritage. The Last Typewriter is a business, and we hope to succeed and make money to start a family, but it’s also the story of our lives. This restaurant is a culinary melding of my family and his, creating something unique and hopefully delicious. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Though the path hasn’t always been easy, the vision has always been clear. San Diego has embraced us, and we are proud to call it our home. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. We’re still small, and finding our audience has been tough, but I know that patience and time will pay off. Some days are full of orders; some are very empty. I trust and pray our story ends in success, but finding our audience and learning how to produce our recipes quickly and consistently has been a fun but daunting challenge. 

Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My husband and I both come from the creative arts. I work as a landscape photographer, and he has traveled the globe in the entertainment industry. Our new restaurant is if done right, a reflection of our artist vision. I don’t know what sets us apart from others because I know many San Diego eateries, and I know they all work hard to share their stories through their food, but I think our ability to create sandwiches, nachos, and other dishes with the elegance of a nice restaurant but the whimsy and fun of street food makes us very proud. 

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
When it comes to delivery options, I see more restaurants moving to commercial kitchens for the delivery apps. I’ve been to restaurants where my order takes forever because they can’t keep up with the online orders, so I think moving those online orders to a separate kitchen will become normal. I may be wrong, but I see the value in that shift. When it comes to hardworking individuals, ordering delivery isn’t just a way to avoid driving to a restaurant and waiting to be seated, it also opens the door for families to bring diverse and special food into their home where they can break bread and create memories in their homes with our food, or other amazing restaurant’s foods, as the backdrop to those memories. 

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