© 2023 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Buffalo's new melting pot

WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

As many immigrants and refugees make Buffalo their new home, some are becoming business owners.  WBFO'S Eileen Buckley met with an Ethiopian woman, who with the her family,  has opened a brand new restaurant on Allen Street near Franklin.  It features Ethiopian cuisine -- that will be very appealing to those seeking gluten  free foods.

"So what are you preparing?", asked WBFO News.  "Salad," said Iman Gatur.  She was slicing a tomato  inside the kitchen of her family's Gatur's Ethiopian restaurant. 

The kitchen is bright -- with shinny--stainless steal and a black and white tile wall in one corner.

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Inside Gatur's Ethiopian restaurant on Allen Street near Franklin in downtown Buffalo

The decor inside the restaurant features peaceful, yellow painted walls -- with a clay color ceramic flooring and new tables and stripped upholstery chairs. 

Gatur says she came from a political family. They encountered troubles in Ethiopia--that is why they came to the U.S. 

Her father remains in Ethiopia, but Gatur, her sisters and mother have been Buffalo for the last 12-years.  She says they take pride in their education to put themselves ahead in America.

"Our family is really hard work --- really strong family.  All my family going to school, college, I'm also a graduate of buffalo state College," said Gatur.

"What is it like to bring something full circle for your family?  It's really pretty exciting.  We are so happy to be in this country and doing this thing.  It is really important to us.  I was going to Buffalo State College.  One of my professors..he always encouraged us, you know, to be entrepreneurs.  so I also have something from this -- you know like the best way to be successful," said Gatur.

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Iman Gatur

The family opened the restaurant almost three months ago serving Ethiopian cuisine.   And for anyone suffering allergies to wheat gluten--the menu provides gluten free meals. Gatur explains that is they way they cook, fresh and from scratch. 

"We have like veggie dish also, and then the meat dish also. The veggie dish...really healthy, from scratch we make it," said Gatur.

Gatur will be providing some appetizers for Thursday evenings Buffalo Without Borders  event -- a celebration of Buffalo's news Americans.  

Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley
Menu at Gatur's Ethiopian restaurant

The International Institute of Buffalo will hosts the event Asbury Hall on Delaware. It allows for everyone to get a glimpse into Ethiopian, Burmese and other international foods and celebrates the city's new melting pot.

"This event, every year has evolved in a way that really shows Buffalo is really changing too," said Eva Hassett is executive director at the International Institute of Buffalo.

Hassett notes that Gatur is an example of immigrants and refugees seeking what citizens desire -- the American dream.

"And you have come here in search of the same dream that my ancestors came here for from Ireland, Germany and Italy.  It is really a very American ideal to build something out of nothing and work very hard, and I am really proud that Buffalo," said Hassett. 

Hassett said she believes Buffalo is lucky to have these new citizens - - making the the city diverse and stronger.

Buffalo's high poverty rate has been linked to more immigrants and refugees in the city. But
Hassett says she believes Buffalo is lucky to have these new citizens -  making the the city diverse and stronger.

"If anything I think people want to make friends with our newest neighbors, but they might not know how. So here's a restaurant you can come to," said Hassett.

Buffalo Without Borders provides an introduction for the city's newest population -- and for Gatur -- who has already established herself in this community -- it is a chance to offer advice to others just arriving.

"It's not easy, but don't give up, you know and work hard," said Gatur.

Related Content