Ethiopian New Jersey Restaurateurs Berekti and Akberet Mengistu Win National Restaurant Association Award

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Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant of Montclair, NJ owners honored by The National Restaurant Association with 2011 Faces of Diversity American Dream Award.

Berekti and Akberet Mengistu, co-owners of Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant of Montclair, NJ

Only in America can we be accepted for who we are and make our own destiny. That’s the American Dream to me and I am living it.

Ethiopian sisters Berekti and Akberet Mengistu, owner-operators of Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant in Montclair, NJ, were honored by The National Restaurant Association and honored with its 2011 Faces of Diversity American Dream Award on Wednesday, March 13, 2011.

The award celebrates members of the restaurant and foodservice industry who have embraced diversity and inclusion at their own business operations and achieved the American Dream in the process. The National Restaurant Association presented the awards during its 2011 Public Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

“We are truly honored to be recognized for this award,” says Berekti Mengistu, owner of Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant. “We are thankful to our customers, family and friends who let us share our culture with them. Only in America can we be accepted for who we are and make our own destiny. That’s the American Dream to me and I am living it.”

During the acceptance speech, Mengistu acknowledged the importance of social media and marketing in their efforts to share their culture with customers. The restaurant's social media efforts are spearheaded by Marketing Manager, Vickie Siculiano, who helps the restaurant learn what is most important to customers and shares valuable feedback so the sisters can realize their American dream.

The Mengistu sisters lived through the Red Terror, a violent political campaign in Ethiopia during the late 1970s and eventually immigrated to the United States. For the last seven years, they have successfully operated Mesob, their Ethiopian restaurant in Montclair, NJ. Berekti handles the business operations while Akberet serves as its Executive Chef.

“The restaurant industry is one of the most diverse industries in the United States, and we are celebrating that by honoring these individuals and companies with our 2011 Faces of Diversity awards,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “The Mengistu sisters’ resilience and hard work resulted in the achievement of the American Dream - owning their own restaurant – while serving their community at the same time. These two women exemplify the best of our industry and the many opportunities it provides.”

The sisters are as committed to giving back to their community as they are to ensuring their restaurant’s success. They sponsor race/walks for charity, contribute to health and wellness events and also work in their local soup kitchen.

The National Restaurant Association, in partnership with PepsiCo Foodservice, created the Faces of Diversity awards program in 2007. The American Dream Award honors individuals of diverse backgrounds who, despite hardship, have succeeded through hard work and determination. The Inspiration Award recognizes a restaurant company or organization that has exhibited leadership and vision through its advocacy of diversity and inclusion.

Founded in 2003, Mesob Ethiopian Restaurant is a favorite for both vegans and meat lovers, serving authentic Ethiopian food. All foods are prepared fresh daily with imported Ethiopian spices. Homemade injera, Ethiopian flat bread that you wrap your food with, makes Mesob a favorite with kids, where it’s a treat to “eat with your hands.” Located at 515 Bloomfield Avenue, in Montclair, NJ. For reservations or more information, call 973-655-9000 or visit Mesob online at


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Vickie Siculiano, Marketing Manager
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