Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

Born in Ethiopia, Beejhy Barhany made it to the USA by way of Kenya, Uganda, Europe, Isreal, and South America before setting roots in New York City. In 2000 Barhany founded Beta Israel of North America, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating about the culture and heritage Ethiopian Jews. In 2014  Barhany, and husband, Padmore John, opened Tsion Café in the historic Harlem district of Sugar Hill. 5 years later the café continues to thrive, serving the community as a place to put differences aside and to celebrate the arts over Ethiopian and Israel inspired food.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "Follow your instincts."

In this episode with Beejhy Barhany we will discuss:

  • Beejhy's childhood in escaping Ethiopia
  • A general history of Ethiopian Jews
  • The melting pot of Jerusalem when Beejhy arrived there
  • Beejhy's early influences and mentors
  • Beejhy's life in the Israeli army
  • The importance of discipline
  • The power of momentum, "keep moving"
  • The importance of learning from other people who are very different from you
  • The importance of travel
  • Beejhy's time traveling through South America
  • Why Beejhy settled in NYC
  • The MASSIVE importance of community and helping others
  • Very friendly competition
  • Choosing a location for your business
  • The hardships of dealing with contractors
  • Obtaining permits for your business
  • Scaling into a more robust liquor and beer selection
  • The more you do, the better you become at doing
  • Being true to who you are in life and your business
  • The importance of being face-to-face with your guests
  • Importance of training
  • Advice for venues that want entertainment (live music)
  • Introducing new and different cuisine to a market

Today's sponsor:

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Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Determination
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Perfectionist
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Understanding and aligning with the vision
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Need to be more firm with staff
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Honesty, integration into our culture, all about family and providing a wholesome experience
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • What you are providing must be something you would want for yourself
  7. What's the one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Go to other restaurants and businesses to learn from them and see what you can do better
  8. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
  9. If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?
    • Be honest
    • Be compassionate
    • Be patient

Contact info:


Instagram: @tsioncafe


Call: 212-234-2370

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Huge thanks to Beejhy Barhany for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


Restaurant Unstoppable is a free podcast. One of the ways I'm able to make it free is by earning a commission when sharing certain products with you. I've made it a core value to only share tools, resources, and services my guest mentors have recommend, first. If you're finding value in my podcast, please use my links!



Direct download: 621_Beejhy_Barhany_COMP_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:12pm EDT