Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
African restaurants score Jets business
Hockey fans devour ethnic food, beer
Robel Arefaine grew up a soccer fan in Ethiopia but after 11 years in Winnipeg, he has come to love the national game of his adopted homeland.
Especially when it puts money in his pockets.
The co-owner of Kokeb Restaurant on Ellice Avenue said business has picked up since the return of the NHL to Winnipeg last fall. Some of the favourite items on his menu, including injera, a pancake-like bread filled with stews, salads and vegetables such as split peas and corn, as well as his lamb, beef and chicken dishes, don't have the mass-consumption appeal of Boston Pizza or Moxie's, but hockey fans with refined palettes have gladly come by to nosh before heading off to the MTS Centre to cheer on the Winnipeg Jets.
And fans without tickets can sit in its 65-person lounge to watch the game on a big-screen TV and sip on Bedele beer, an Ethiopian brew he special-orders through the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission.
"The Jets are good for business," Arefaine said.
Bedele is popular with his African customers who want a taste of home, but it's the Canadians who put the biggest dent in the 26 boxes he last ordered.
"When I give (Canadians) the menu, they ask, 'Do you have beer from your country?' They want to taste it. Within one month, the Bedele was gone," he said.
Mesfin Kahsay, owner of Modern Restaurant, just a stone's throw away from the MTS Centre on Portage Avenue, has become a hockey fan, too. His one-year-old eatery is full of hungry fans before, during and after games.
"The Jets help big-time," he said.
Both restaurateurs say Winnipeg's multiculturalism is a big reason why they can make it in the restaurant business. Kahsay said running a restaurant is a way to capitalize on his heritage and one whiff of his chicken stew will tell you his eatery is nothing like the Tim Hortons or Subway outlets across the street.
"We are not a franchise. We try to survive by making different kinds of food. Everything is fresh. Everything we do is from scratch," he said. "All of my life, I worked in a restaurant. This is the first time that I've owned one."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 18, 2012 0
Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Photo Store Gallery
Africa is one complex and gloriously unmanageable 'theme' to choose to kick off our 2012 series, Our City Our World, which is why it took up the whole newspaper on Jan. 18.
Hard-working Chinese immigrants, once banned, have risen to the highest echelons of Manitoba.
German immigrants have played a surprisingly large role in the development of the province.
Arriving in Manitoba in the 1870s unprepared for a brutal winter, Icelandic settlers and their descendants have left their mark on our province.
Industrious Italians rose from peasant roots and adapted to Canadian society by mastering L’art d’arrangiarsi (the art of getting by).
It used to be the only time Prairie folks met Spanish-speaking people was when they vacationed down south. More often now, they're the people next door.
When the first Middle East families immigrated to Manitoba, mosques were unheard of and even yogurt was exotic. But now all that has changed.
A booming Filipino community nearly 60,000 strong has transformed Manitoba.
As the city's Indo-Canadian population experiences dramatic growth, its pioneers recall their warm Winnipeg welcome.
Scarred by Holodomor, the Ukrainian community helped shape Winnipeg's cultural mosaic.
Manitoba's history is built on a foundation provided by settlers from the U.K., who came here seeking better lives.
Ads by Google