When coming up for my next article idea, I racked my brain trying to think of popular, female-owned businesses I could write about in the Ann Arbor area. Frita Batidos is a favorite spot of mine. I love the simplicity of the space and how it contrasts with the rich flavors of the food. "Like a burger but different" is how I have always explained Fritas to people who haven't been-but that's a rarity. Fritas has become an Ann Arbor classic. Despite this, most people make the false assumption that Fritas is a male-owned business because of the type of food. "Burger joint" doesn't always strike people as a fun "feminine" business. But low and behold, these people are wrong.

Kristen Yee

Upon doing some reading on their website, which can be found here, I found out that the Cuban street food-inspired business was founded by a woman named Eve Aronoff. Since Fritas is one of the most famous A2 stops, I knew I had to interview her. This is what she had to say:

Eve's Experience

Q: How has being a woman shaped your experience as a small business owner?

A: I don't know if it is because I am a woman or because of my personality, but we have a lot of focus on details, communication, cooperation, community, and how we feel about different situations that come up in the way we work together. Those are things that are really important to me and that we put a pretty unusual amount of time and energy into. I think it is definitely worth it, but I know it isn't extremely common to put as much attention into those areas in the restaurant industry because there is always an immediate sense of how much has to get done at every moment, so you really have to make an effort to put time into all of these things at the same time as addressing immediate needs and pressures of the business. 

Q: What challenges come with owning your own business? Do you feel like being a female business owner has presented its own separate challenges?

A: I think the biggest pro and the biggest con is that the buck stops with you, and ultimately everything is your responsibility. I don't mind and I chose this, but it comes with a lot of responsibility and freedom, both. There have been challenges along the way, but for me they have just been the kind of personal challenges there are so many of owning a business or any other kind of leadership role. There are going to be people that resist or challenge you for a lot of different reasons and when you reflect on them, some of them seem more fair and reasonable than others. There have been people that seemed to make judgements about me, that I didn't feel were very well-founded because I am a woman. Things like being perceived as especially tough or mean or emotional because you have to make difficult decisions or because you are passionate. Overall, I have tried not to focus too much on that and just try to work on being as fair, kind, strong, and knowledgeable as I can be in any given situation and in my role overall. It is just an ongoing process of growth and I work on those things, along with trying to understand where other people are coming from more than whether or not I am being judged fairly/unfairly.

My Conclusion

In all, I think one of Eve Aronoff's most impressive feats as a small business owner is her ability to focus on what she wants in running her business, not what other people want for her. As a woman, a local business owner, and CEO of her own brand, she follows her heart and passion, and does what she feels is best for her company. I think that is what makes her food so good; not only is Frita Batidos the first place you want to go for a good meal, you can tell from the environment and atmosphere that care was put into the experience of eating there. If we can find the time to look past general assumptions we make, we might be surprised to find there are a lot of kick-ass women who run a lot of amazing, successful businesses all around us!

*Disclaimer: this article was drafted before the COVID-19 pandemic. Frita Batidos is currently offering online ordering and delivery, as well as curbside pick-up if you are looking for a way to support a local Ann Arbor business!