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70 WINTER 2014 K KEENELAND.COM Reinaldo Gonzalez, left, and Lesme Romero followed their hearts in starting Lexington Pasta Co. Two friends come full circle, founding a business using a skill learned during college days By Kate Savage / Photos by Mark Mahan S ometimes it's necessary to travel full circle to arrive at the original starting point and realize you belonged there all along. This is certainly true for Reinaldo Gon- zalez and Lesme Romero, best friends and co-owners of Lexington Pasta. Both grew up in Venezuela but at different ends of the country. It wasn't until attending Case Western Reserve in Ohio — where each had enrolled to learn En- glish as a second language — that they met and realized how much they had in common. With Spanish fathers and Italian mothers, a South American heritage, a love of food, and that "festa" spirit, they became instant friends. As students, they shared an apartment in Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood, living above a popular local Italian restaurant where they worked for four years to help fnance their schooling and learned how to make pasta from scratch. As Romero says with fond recollection, "It was there that we learned the differ- ence of homemade pasta. There were always people lined up at that restaurant door because they knew it was fresh and good — we noticed that then and always kept it in mind." After learning English, Gonzalez went on to study industrial engineering, and GUYS

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