Papa Juans was started in 1972 in Downtown Cedar Rapids. It is the oldest Mexican Restaurant in Cedar Rapids and also one of the oldest, still going restaurants in Cedar Rapids.
In 1980, it was moved to its current location on Center Point Road NE. The restaurant has changed owners over the years. In 2004, a local man Steve Van Fleet, who grew up in Cedar Rapids, bought the restaurant and the Stefano’s side was born. Steve, who had been in the Food and Restaurant Business for 30 plus years, also has a passion for Italian Food and decided to try to add another cuisine to the restaurant. Within months people were loving the Italian food, so Papa Juan Stefano’s was born.
Steven, attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Phoenix, AZ while working for Sysco Foods in the Laughlin, NV area in order to experience the Chef side of the business. Steve also owned and operated two restaurants in the area while living there for almost four years. One restaurant was strictly Italian where he perfected his cuisine. Jonathon, his youngest son, spent his childhood growing up in the kitchen.
That is how Papa Juan Stefano’s and Sons was born as a truly family owned and operated business.