Immigrants helping fuel Arizona restaurant boom

Posted at 7:09 AM, Jul 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-03 13:10:30-04

Immigrant-owned restaurants are fueling an “explosion of new culinary options” across Arizona, according to the state’s restaurant association.

President and CEO Steve Chucri estimates up to 25% of eateries in the state are now immigrant or minority-owned following a surge in the last decade.

"They all are searching for a better life for themselves, for their families, and for their communities," said Bite Magazine co-founder Mark Lipczynski. He and publisher Michelle Jacoby launched a series titled “In Food We Trust” highlighting local, immigrant-owned restaurants. “Their spirit is amazing,” Jacoby said.

Four years ago Aisha Tedros opened A.T. Oasis Coffee & Tea in Phoenix after immigrating in 2002 from a war-torn part of what was once Ethiopia. She always dreamed of opening her own café.

"I want to show [customers] the culture, the love, the unity and the welcome here," Tedros told ABC15.

Tedros sources coffee beans from Ethiopian farmers and shares a special coffee ceremony with guests, meant for bringing people together.

"To anyone that comes to this country -- when they say you can be what you want to be when you come to America, and you can do what you want to do, it's true."