Interview with Asfaw Meshesha's son, Japi


Tadias Addis - Interview with Asfaw Meshesha's son Japi. One of the main objectives of Berhane’s restaurant is to create space where Ethiopians can get first-hand experience of an American bar and restaurant or a pizza and burger joint. In some sense, they can ask us what MLK meant and what this food represents not only from a customer’s point of view but also from an employee’s. 


The MLK Jr. restaurant currently employs 23 people, all of whom are young locals. He returned to Ethiopia because he wanted to teach and inspire young people about the ways of doing business in America and he has done just that.


“I was born here and I love the people and the culture. I was thinking that if I could have 10 employees, they could learn so much. It’s not only about the employment but my ideas, and my standards. 


My experiences would help them to know about the bar and restaurant business. A small restaurant like this can help people by exposing them to the American style restaurant business and international standard of business,” said Berhane.


He sees his restaurant as a glimpse of an American-style business. Most of the décor and settings are imported from America, for example, the barbecue grill and fire pit that is located in the outside seating area of the restaurant. 


The significance of the grill and fire pit is that it reflects a common social activity in many American households. The most popular grilling occasions are holidays like the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Memorial Day. 


Berhane has brought the experience of barbecuing to Ethiopia. Now, customers can enjoy a nice barbecue gathering by preordering a grilling event, which the restaurant will organize. 


“My next goal is to open another chain of Martin Luther King Jr. restaurants in Ethiopia,” said Berhane. “I want the Diaspora [and the world] to know that we are here. When they come to Ethiopia they have to come to see and learn.”

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