When I visited Meseret’s Ethiopian Restaurant five months ago, it bustled with activity. A smiling Meseret visited every table to make sure all her guests were satisfied. My veggie platter was excellent.
Yesterday, I and my friend Yachis stopped there for lunch. The situation we found left us both angry and hopeful.
Last week, while Meseret was alone in the restaurant, three masked men entered and attacked her. Throwing her to the floor, they beat her for 20 minutes while breaking into the register and stealing all her money.
No one responded to Meseret’s screams. She finally called for help after the attackers left. When news of the ordeal spread, her south Minneapolis neighborhood immediately set up a community watch.
Coordinating with each other through the Next Door App, they come and look after Meseret in one-hour shifts whenever the restaurant is open.
The events of the past month have shaken the entire community to their core. Instead of hiding or moving, however, many have proven to be true neighbors.
During the three hours we stayed, four community members spent time with her. Meseret wanted to give them food, but they insisted on paying. Between noon and 3pm, Yachis and I were the only other diners.
While in Minneapolis over the next few days, I’ve already made plans to return to Meseret’s for her veggie platter. I hope many of my readers in the Twin Cities also visit her and her sweet community.
In fact, no matter where you live, now is a wonderful time to support black-owned restaurants serving plant-based foods in your own community.
Yachis spoke to Meseret in her native language about what happened. When we left, he shared how seeing the neighborhood rally around her has given him hope — a feeling he hasn’t felt since George Floyd’ death.