This May, Marlow’s Cheesesteaks will open its doors at 93 N. High Street in Gahanna’s Creekside District, in the same location El Arepazo successfully operated its Latin grill for the past ten years. The owners of Marlow’s Cheesesteaks, Jomar and Shanika Sheppard, jumped at the opportunity to operate within the Creekside District upon learning of this opening through their well-established community connections.
“In 2012, we opened Arepazo at Creekside because we loved Gahanna’s neighborhood feel and access to ample parking. We knew our business would be successful here, and we’ve enjoyed long lines every weekend as we did our best to manage during this pandemic. However, due to workforce inconsistencies, we have no choice but to consolidate operations to only one location in the Columbus Brewery District,” explained Carlos Gutierrez, co-owner of Arepazo.
By consolidating operations to one location, Gutierrez cited that he can be fully on-site to keep both crew morale and product consistency high, enabling him to provide the necessary pay and benefits to retain a motivated workforce at one location.
“It’s been mentally hard on our crew to get through COVID and now deal with workforce hiring and retention issues. I want my crew to have a happy, high quality of life, and I’m glad I can offer employment to our Gahanna staff members at the Columbus location,” said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez shared positive sentiments toward local Gahanna leadership for assisting his business, and he looks forward to potentially returning to Gahanna if there is an opportunity to both buy a commercial property and hire a motivated crew.
“I’d love to buy an affordable commercial property with great parking, but I need to know I can hire a motivated team, too. It’s critical that the consistency of our product remains high if we can return and open our own building again in Gahanna,” shared Gutierrez.
Marlow’s Cheesteaks is set to open in early May. The owners, who already operate the Water Ice Shoppe Food Truck, have been deeply involved in community events and the local Gahanna public school system.
“We participated in the Creekside Blues and Jazz Fest in 2019 and 2021, where we introduced our brand-new food truck. It’s an event that we love because it’s packed with great bands, and it brings a huge crowd that enables us to showcase our food to a wide audience and connect with different people,” explained co-owner Shanika Sheppard.
Sheppard, who has served as a substitute teacher at Gahanna West Middle School and Gahanna East Middle School, is deeply committed to serving local Gahanna families through public school involvement.
“Our Water Ice Shoppe catered Jefferson Elementary School’s 2021 spring graduation. We also partnered with the Gahanna Lincoln High School Winter Sports Booster Club, where we donated a percentage of water ice sales earned during volleyball and basketball games,” said Sheppard.
Marlow’s Cheesesteaks looks forward to hosting local sports teams at its establishment during Gahanna Lincoln High School’s Dine to Donate nights, along with sponsoring a local soccer club. Aside from featuring authentic Philly cheesesteaks, the new restaurant will offer cheesesteaks with chicken, salmon, or vegetables. Patrons can refresh with water ice, twisted ice, and alcohol-infused water ice or choose from the drink menu featuring five different beers and five signature cocktails.
“One of the best parts about our new location is that it falls within the Creekside Outdoor Refreshment Area (CORA). CORA will not only give our new business a strong foundation, but it will also support people who are concerned with COVID-19. I look forward to hosting entertainment and a live DJ to encourage people to hang out and enjoy more time in Creekside,” exclaimed Sheppard.
Arepazo Restaurant’s last day of operation was Thursday, February 24.