An unusual restaurant, scheduled to open recently, has pushed back its opening date to sometime early next year.

Restaurateur José Rodríguez was hoping to open a Venezuelan restaurant called Aripo’s before the holiday season at 118 N. Marion St. The owner believes he’d be the only eatery in the area serving nothing but Venezuelan cuisine.

But kicking off the construction, at the retail space that once housed Moveable Gourmet, has taken longer than expected. He found it difficult to find a good contractor at a reasonable price and has taken his time in looking for the right fit. The work also proved to be complicated, transforming a catering business to a full restaurant.

“We didn’t want to do things half-assed, basically,” Rodríguez said. “We just want to do it right, take our time and open in the proper way.”

Renovation of the space started Dec. 1, and the owner hopes to have Aripo’s ready for business in February. They recently rolled out a Web site for the restaurant at

-Marty Stempniak

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