A falafel restaurant opened by a Syrian refugee in Tennessee has become a pillar in his community, and a gathering place for people from all backgrounds and walks of life
TENNESSEE – A Syrian-refugee’s new falafel shop in Tennessee was the winner of this year’s Reader’s Digest Nicest Place in America accolade, welcoming people from all backgrounds, faiths, and walks of life, ABC News reported.
“America is the winner. Knoxville is the winner. Tennessee is the winner,” Yassin Terou, the owner of Yassin’s Falafel House in Knoxville, told “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts after learning he won. “It’s not me.”
He continued, “I think this is what makes us the winner, is the people in this country, not us.”
The sign posted at the entrance to Terou’s restaurant reads: “All sizes, all colors, all ages, all sexes, all cultures, all religions, all types, all beliefs, all people, safe here at Yassin’s Falafel House.”
Terou, a refugee who fled war in his home country of Syria seven years ago, has become a local symbol of the American dream.
He said he feels he “had a second chance of life to be in the United States.”
“I just want to tell the American people, you are a great people,” Terou said on “GMA.”
“Everybody loves you and we know you love everybody. We are going to keep this country great and we’re going to build it together.”
However, his journey to become the owner of the most popular falafel restaurant in Tennessee was not all easy.
He said he learned how to “handle hate with love.”
“When you love and give your love to people, you are stronger than one who gives hate,” he added.
“Yassin’s Falafel House is about family, about love, about building community,” he said.
“So we make sure when you get your food, you smile and feel the love with it.”