Eight years ago, Eva Hofstedt decided to open her own business and become part of Arcadia’s well-known restaurant industry. Through trials and tribulations, The Stand has become a staple in the neighborhood and shows no signs of slowing down. Arcadia News caught up with Eva to see where this entrepreneur got her start.
Where are you from?
I’m an Arizona native. I’ve lived in Arcadia for six years now, but I grew up in Paradise Valley.
What do you like most about Arcadia?
I love the neighborhood and the neighborhood feel. It’s tough to replicate the sense of community that’s been established in this area. I haven’t experienced it anywhere other than in Arcadia. I lived in Paradise Valley most of my life, and I never really knew my neighbors like I have known and still know my neighbors in this community.
What is your history as the owner of The Stand?
The Stand has been open for seven years, and I’ve been the owner for eight. I started it from the beginning. I come from a very successful and well-known restaurant family, and I didn’t think I was ever going to be in the restaurant business because it’s challenging. It’s one of the most challenging industries to be in. The success rate is low, and profit margins are slim, but the restaurant business is in my blood, and I couldn’t shake it.
Was The Stand built from the ground-up?
The building used to be an old Dairy Queen. But before that, it was ten different things. The building was in disrepair, so we had to do a lot of cleaning and scrape it back down to the walls and the floor. It took five to six months to get the building back to where we thought it was clean and sanitized, and then we started putting the aesthetics on top of it. The building was always here, but it was unrecognizable. When we opened, people were like, “You know this is what we call the cursed cubicle, right?” and I’m thinking well, we’re about to change that. It’s not going to be anymore! This building has no business doing the business it does. I just have such respect for it. It’s been a jewel box and such a blessing.
What is your favorite part of being a small business owner?
I love being a woman-owned business. I hope that I can be inspiring to someone else that has a dream or has something they want to accomplish. But you have to be willing to do the same thing every day for years. It doesn’t just happen. I try every day. Never give up. That’s the thing I’ve learned the most.
What’s something most people don’t know about The Stand?
The whole place is a tribute to my grandmother. She is a restaurant legend in the Valley – it’s a tribute to her and kind of coming full-circle. We get famous people here all the time, like the Cardinal’s quarterback or the Sun’s general manager, and I think the reason they come back is that they can go, sit in a corner, no one bothers them, no one asks for autographs. We pride ourselves on treating everyone the same – if it’s a person in need or a person with celebrity status.
What kind of food can people find at The Stand?
We grind our beef fresh every day and make everything fresh from top-to-bottom. We hand spin our shakes. The fries we cut from hand – it’s a two-day process. We didn’t invent the wheel; we just sort of took it apart and put it back together to give the customer the freshest product we can offer.
What is the most popular item on the menu?
The Grand Royale burger – grilled onions and jalapenos, bacon, cheese, Stand sauce. The whole thing is pretty great. The most popular shake is probably the Dulce de Leche, but a close second is Chocolate Chile. We also just added a coffee shake with ground-up espresso beans and Nitro brewed coffee. I love our shakes because they’re not too sweet – everyone enjoys them, mostly adults, which is something that’s hard to do because a lot of people don’t like overly sweet. The most important thing for me is balance, so that’s the motive behind our shakes.
Who first taught you to cook?
My grandmother and my mother. They’re incredible. I was a late bloomer; I didn’t learn until I was 25 or 30 because I didn’t have to. I was in the kitchen, but I washed dishes and prepped, putting things together wasn’t my job. Finally, something clicked – I was good at washing dishes, but I needed to learn the art of putting flavors together. My mom and grandmother taught me everything I know, and I can say I’m better [at cooking] than them now – it took me a long time to confidently say that. Like it or not, I was training my whole life to do this.
What is the most challenging part of working in the restaurant industry?
It’s not just one thing. The challenge is problem-solving. What you become in owning your own business or if you’re an entrepreneur of any sort – what you learn about yourself is that you need to solve problems quickly.
Things require efficient responses. And especially if you’re a small business, you don’t have a lot of money to throw at things. You have to be preemptive with how you view your day. You have to be able to negotiate your day with something that may or may not happen – people not showing up, call-outs, vendors that don’t show – and because we offer fresh products, we have to start from scratch every day. I do payroll, the office – all of that put together is challenging.
What is one item you can’t live without in your kitchen?
A really good pan. You can do a lot of things with it – it’s the most versatile piece of equipment. Anything else you can improvise.
What is your go-to comfort food?
I have a gluten allergy, so I have a very specific diet. I like gluten-free pizza – the only place I eat pizza from is Spinato’s. I get a gluten-free Mamma Spinach, a Caesar salad, and dessert from Nami. Pizza with root beer – that’s my jam.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I don’t really ever have a day off. I’m always working to some capacity, which is the thing about being an entrepreneur that people don’t get. It’s not a 9 to 5. When the restaurant closes, there’s still paperwork to do, payroll, vendors. It never really ends. I do make time for myself each day. I love to walk. I love to work out. I like to eat well. I have two kids, and I love spending time with them and my family. I’m a big family person.
Who inspires you?
The women in my family. I come from a long line of successful women who came from nothing, were given nothing and made incredible successes out of themselves. My mom’s side is Hispanic, and they experienced a lot of racism and were denied a lot of opportunities. But they forged through and did very well for themselves, independently of the men they were married to, which was forward and progressive in the 40s, 50s and 60s. They created their own opportunity.
What advice has stayed with you throughout the years?
If you are blessed, it’s very important to give back. That’s something I learned from my family and my dad. You take care of the people that take care of you. That resonates with the way I view my business. People in Arcadia have blessed me with their patronage and given me confidence. I am not without my faults, I have good and bad days like everyone else, but they keep coming back and giving me chances to do better the next day. I’m grateful for that and I love giving back to my community whenever I can.