Juan Ayala & Alexis Carbajal
Juan Ayala and Alexis Carbajal, co-founders of Phoenix Coquí
Home base: Phoenix
How did your love story begin? Alexis: Our love story began in 2013 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was on vacation and fell in love with the island, so I did the craziest thing I’ve ever done. I sold my car, rented my house and bought a one-way ticket to Puerto Rico! Little did I know that a couple of months later, I’d meet a neighbor (and the love of my life) online and agree to go on a date. Juan happened to be celebrating his birthday that week and had two weeks off of work. He’d been single for years, and we developed a strong connection as we wrote to each other daily for about a month before he invited me out for a drink. On our first date, he picked me up in his car, and we had his favorite drink at a bar on the beach along with the best laughs and conversation. The night was magical and we both didn’t want it to end, so we continued the date and went out dancing. The sparks flew, and while I never officially asked Juan to be my boyfriend, we’ve been together ever since that night. Neither of us was looking for love at that time, but love found us, and 10 years later we’re still madly in love with each other and engaged to be married.
Favorite thing about one another: Juan: My favorite thing about Alexis is his generosity, selflessness and how hard-working he is.
Alexis: My favorite thing about Juan is that he can make me smile on my worst days. He is the most positive, energetic and giving person I have ever met.
Favorite date night: Juan: Dinner at a new restaurant followed by dancing.
Alexis: A relaxing night in, sharing a bottle of wine and watching movies.
Favorite tradition you have as a couple: Juan: Our favorite tradition as a couple is putting up our Christmas tree together. Each year we make an ornament with a memory from that year that we add to the tree.
What does your happily ever after look like? Alexis: Our happily ever after consists of growing Phoenix Coqui (our restaurant) and traveling the world together. Being able to share our love of food with people and explore new places is our happiness.