ARJ Civic Association Leadership Award Winner: Rafael Concepcion

Rafael Esteban Concepcion, the owner of El Merengue Restaurant in Newark, was honored by ARJ Civic Association with a business leader award at the association's First Annual Leadership Awards Breakfast held on March 12, 2015 in the Crystal Room of the Robert Treat Hotel.

Mr. Concepcion, known as a prosperous business man in the City of Newark, was born into a very humble family in the Dominican Republic. He moved from the Caribbean to the United States in 1982.

He became a shoe cleaner in the barbershop of a Teodoro Paulino “Paquito” where he spent most of his time listening to the good advice of Paquito. There, he began to appreciate Paquito who became like a father to him during his teenage years.

Later he started working at “Brother Supermarket” in order to cover his personal and family expenses. He realized that this was not enough, so he began working at Continental Airlines, selling music tapes, and working as a DJ at different parties during the weekends.

In 1993, he was able to save some money and with the help of a very good friend and financial investor Raul Giron, he opened his first restaurant “La Parada Dominicana,” The Dominican Stop Restaurant on Park Ave. Raul Giron believed in Mr. Concepcion and supported his business venture, allowing him to open a series of restaurants in the City of Newark: La Farandula, El Merengue, and El Bachatipico. He also runs a restaurant in Santo Domingo, La Farandula #2.

Mr. Concepcion has been recognized as the Business Merchant of the Year by the Merchant Association of Newark. The Dominican Round Table recognized him as one of the most successful Business Owners in Newark. Recently, he was recognized by the Universidad APEC of Dominican Republic for his contributions as an entrepreneur in the Dominican community.

Mr. Concepcion continues to broaden his business ventures to bring jobs and opportunities to the residents of the City of Newark. He owns property in the City of Newark, where his family resides. He is proud of his mother, Juana F. Ortiz, who has always supported him. He has three siblings, seven children and one grandchild.

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