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Black-owned business roundup following Black History Month

University of Minnesota students share their opinions on and experiences with some of the local Black-owned businesses.
Image by CJ Bonk
Students discussed local restaurants, including Afro Deli, which has been around since 2010.

With Black History Month coming to a close, University of Minnesota students shared their experiences with Black-owned businesses near campus.

Students said welcoming environments, affordability and positive missions make some of these businesses stand out.

The Red Sea provides unique offerings and a welcoming atmosphere

The Red Sea is an Ethiopian restaurant owned by Russom Solomon located on West Bank. The restaurant opened in 1990 and was the first Ethiopian and Eritrean restaurant in Minneapolis, according to the businesses website.

The Red Sea offers unique Ethiopian dishes, including both meat and vegetable sambusa, Ethiopian-style scrambled eggs and Kifo, a traditional dish of minced beef seasoned with a spice blend and Ethiopian butter.

Mekede Radiate, a first-year student at the University, said she has enjoyed her visits to the Red Sea.

“I felt welcomed and the workers were nice. They gave me notices on when my food would be ready and updates. Pricing was reasonable,” Radiate said. “They represented Ethiopian food well and had great options. Overall, [it was] a great visit.”

Good food and affordability expected at Afro Deli

Afro Deli is a restaurant that provides a fusion of African, American and Mediterranean cuisines. The restaurant has four locations in the Twin Cities metro area, the closest to campus located in Stadium Village and Cedar-Riverside. The restaurant is owned by Abridirman Kahin, who grew up in Cedar-Riverside.

Afro Deli opened its first location in 2010 with the mission of combining culture and community, according to the restaurant’s website.

Faaya Adem, a first-year student at the University, said she enjoys the restaurant because of the good food and affordable prices.

“The food brings me comfort when I’m away from home and at my dorm instead,” Adem said. “The prices have risen a little over throughout the pandemic, but it’s still a pretty cheap and affordable place to eat. I always get their quesadilla and fries whenever I go there and that always fills me up.”

Jarjay’s photography aims to highlight “unapologetic beauty”

Cyrus Jarjay is a local photographer and University student studying finance. His speciality is photographing people, often highlighting the beauty of people of color in his work.

“I’ve had a long-existing fascination with fashion. Dating back to the third grade, I would draw designs of models’ clothing.” Jarjay said. “However, collaborating with people to provide an experience that made them feel priceless and inclined to fully express themselves drove me to expand my hobby into a business.”

Jarjay said he is inspired by the “unapologetic beauty” of his subjects and messages he would like to convey through his works.

“Igniting the imagination of my subjects and revealing the model within them is my primary specialty,” Jarjay said. “Similarly, my work has been sought after for how I edit the skin, which is naturalistic. This has been the case especially for Black women, that have had negative experiences with their skin tones being washed out.”

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