Is it wise to open a restaurant on little to no experience in a town you barely know?

If you ask restaurateur Yosef Ali, the short answer is yes.

Leaving Ethiopia in 1994 to play soccer at college, ali says his venture into the food industry was almost by accident. Coming to the United States with little more than the clothing on his back, Ali worked his way through a Bachelor’s degree in Tennessee, and then a Masters at Jackson State before meeting his partners who helped get his business off the ground.

Ali says he drove back and forth between Birmingham and Jackson to pay his food service dues for a whole semester in 1994. That’s the year he discovered the need for Greek and Lebanese cuisine in Fondren.

Ali says a number of doctors who practice at nearby University Medical Center are from out of the country and are accustomed to his international fare. “They have supported me, even in the trying economy.”