A popular dining initiative that originated in Greensboro, North Carolina is coming to the Miami Valley.
Ethnosh, an organization that plans monthly dining events called “NoshUps” at immigrant-owned restaurants in North Carolina, is partnering with civic innovation lab The Collaboratory to launch its model locally in Dayton.
The concept is to discover the most delicious international foods locally during casual tasting events where guests are able to sample and learn about the authentic cuisine being highlighted. At the same time, guests will meet and hear the stories of the owners and families coming to America and getting into the restaurant business.
Greensboro resident Donovan McKnight founded Ethnosh in 2014 out of a love for cross-cultural discovery and food: “My wife is the daughter of an immigrant,” says McKnight, “and grew up surrounded by global food. When she took me out to restaurants I became fascinated by the food, but more so the people behind the food. . I began developing relationships with the families, and I thought, “What if I could facilitate this experience for my community?’” That’s how Ethnosh was born. To date, the Greensboro, NC outfit has visited more than 40 restaurants and food trucks, with thousands of attendees. “Food has the power to bring people together,” says McKnight, “to dispel fear by creating commonality across cultures, and build bridges across the table.”
The Dayton initiative marks the first expansion of the Ethnosh network through its partnership with The Collaboratory, a regional civic innovation lab located in downtown Dayton. The Collaboratory acts as a catalyst for initiatives in the region like The Dayton Sewing Collaborative, X FACTOR and Porchfest.
Collaboratory founder Peter Benkendorf met McKnight while attending a national urban development conference about five years ago and the two became friends. According to Benkendorf, when he learned about Ethnosh a couple of years ago, the light bulb went for its alignment with Welcome Dayton, the region’s immigrant-friendly initiative, and the gears started turning.
“What I like about Ethnosh is its emphasis on cuisine, culture and community, as well as supporting local immi- grant-owned businesses,” said Benkendorf. “The NoshUps are about new culinary experiences, but they are also focused on sharing the personal stories and journeys of the restaurant owners and their families. NoshUps are set up with large tables, so we are also building community, which is a core value of The Collaboratory.”
“With hundreds of immigrant-owned restaurants in the Dayton region from every part of the globe, there is an in- credible wealth of cultural experiences out there waiting to be discovered. Ethnosh is a perfect fit with the Welcome Dayton initiative, since Welcome Dayton is committed to supporting immigrants and refugees and celebrating their contributions to the region. Ethnosh is a great way to bring people who love food and those who are curious about other cultures together to support these locally-owned businesses,” said Monica Harris, Coordinator of the City of Dayton’s Welcome Dayton Initiative and part of the Ethnosh team.
Attend the first Dayton NoshUp
Sunday, October 13, at Olive Mediterranean Grill
44 West Third Street, Dayton OH 45402
Seatings are at 5:00 and 7:30 pm
Tickets $18 per person plus ticketing service fee.
Seatings limited to 50 people.
Tickets are now on sale at Ethnosh.org.
Olive specializes in traditional Mediterranean dishes, including Baba Ganouj, Shish Tawook, Kufta Kabab and Lamb Shank. Guests will be served a sampler plate representing traditional Mediterranean dishes.
Olive owner Fadi Shokri immigrated to the United States from Palestine in the winter of 2009, arriving in Dayton on New Years Day 2010. He and his brother opened Olive in 2015. Originally located on North Dixie Drive, the restaurant moved to downtown Dayton in June 2018.
“What I love about this business is not just sharing the food I grew up with, but meeting and sharing my story with Daytonians of every walk of life who come into Olive. The community has been so welcoming and I could not be more pleased to help Ethnosh get started in Dayton,” said Shokri.
For additional information contact DAY@ethnosh.org or 937.476.1321.