A second home

From the hope of owning a restaurant to the fear of being kicked out of their own home for running one, the Mifflin family has worked hard to get their dream restaurant.

A born and raised Peruvian native, Christopher Mifflin enjoyed cooking so much that every Sunday his family invited friends and extended family to their home for dinner.  Mifflin’s wife, Carmen Mifflin, spurred the idea that they start cooking for money to bring in more income. 

“We have a big family, so it was not easy for us to pay for all with only my earnings,” said Christopher Mifflin. 

Influenced by his wife’s proposition, Mifflin quit his day job at Amazon to start up the restaurant in his own house.

“The first Sunday, it was crazy. We sold $1,500 (worth of food). The restaurant was supposed to close for the first time at around 5 p.m. but it ended up closing at 9 p.m.,” said Christopher.

Mifflin’s daughter, Cedar Shoals freshman Samantha Mifflin, initially didn’t enjoy the experience. 

“It was weird because we’d have to move the furniture and put in tables and then put the furniture back and put the tables away. I kind of felt uncomfortable because I had random strangers know where I lived,” Samantha said.

Her discomfort did not stop the restaurant from continuing inside the family’s residence. They continued to host patrons in their house for another year. An unknown person’s discomfort would eventually create problems, however. 

This still unknown person reported the family’s business to the county, and code enforcement came to their house and wrote four tickets for home occupation, state food service inspection, permitted zoning, and occupational tax certificate violations. 

Purely Peruvian: WJAG-TV Producer Dominic Bielli takes a trip to Mifflin House to find out more about the family’s story — and to get a taste of their food.

This incident was the end of the at-home restaurant, but it was not the end of Christopher Mifflin’s childhood dream of being a chef. 

On April 15, 2019, the doors of the now up-to-code Mifflin House opened in Athens in Homewood Hills in the previous Big Ears location. Customers continue to swarm for dishes such as lomo saltado and aji de gallina.

While Mifflin’s childhood dreams of having a restaurant are fulfilled, new problems have come along.

“Working with your family can be pretty bad because sometimes we would have disagreements at home and if we bring those problems to work it can get uncomfortable,” Samantha said.

Her father disagrees, saying he enjoys working with his family and that it’s actually his children’s friends who are less responsible. 

Family fun: Christopher (Head chef, owner, and father) and freshman Samantha Mifflin stand in front of the storefront at Mifflin House. The Mifflin family decorated the restaurant to show its Peruvian influence and make it feel like home. “Cooking is something I have loved to do since I was seven years old,” Christopher said. Photo by Emma McElhannon.

“It could be a problem but they are very responsible and they take it seriously. Like they know what they need to do,” Christopher said. 

The restaurant’s authenticity is evident upon walking in the door. 

“Around 25 of the ingredients that are here you can only find in Peru. I’m still going to Atlanta to buy some products once a week,” Mifflin said. His family makes their food using all traditional ingredients. They are the only fully authentic Peruvian restaurant here in Athens.

Since the opening of the Mifflin House, the Mifflin kids don’t get allowances. Instead they work at the restaurant and get paid like normal employees.

“The main thing that I will take away from work is the skill of socializing,” Samantha said.

“It’s a fun experience. Not only do we work with family, we work with people that are friends with our family and I meet new people. I’m not planning on pursuing culinary arts, but I have it as a hobby. I’m more interested in science,” Samantha said.