Updated: Aug 7, 2018
"My name is Roni. I'm an entrepreneur. What I really do is create new ideas and have a ton of fun with them. I live what I call an unshackled, unapologetic life. Because for far too long in my life, I felt that there was a necessity to be boxed into something."
"Before I first moved to the US, there were these ideals of what the US was like - the roads were paved in gold, you show up, live in a skyscraper somewhere and you're set. We moved into an apartment in the Bronx."
At four in the morning, my father would get up. Sometimes I would go with him and we'd push a fruit cart down in the Financial District. There came this moment - I will never forget - when it was absolutely pouring outside. All the food vendors that we see are stuck because it's raining. This guy from Afghanistan who is standing next to us looks up at the sky and says 'Ah, this is our life'. At that moment I told myself, "This is not my life, I'm going to make a change." There has to be a shift that happens. What my mother and father were going through, we were moving backwards.'"
Father & Son | Photo by Eleanor Foa Dienstag
"So at some point. we decide my father needed to find a job indoors rather than outside and he gets a real job at the New York Police Department. So here's my dad giving people tickets and these people are actually giving him hugs. He was still building relationships."
"I moved forward, got an engineering degree. I really felt like was here to build a life for myself in this country and that I was going to work for a recognizable company so all my family would know where I work. So I made it to a Fortune 500 company and life is actually quite well."
"When I ask my Dad what he wanted to do, I realize - never for a moment did he have a chance to think of that. He came here and worked hard, so that I could think of these things. So after I pushed him, we started a small restaurant on a shoestring budget with a hokey name that sounds like someone came up with it while they were drunk. And for some reason, the restaurant worked. The reason why the restaurant worked was because of my father. Seven days a week, he would go to this restaurant."
"It's not the most outstanding food you'll ever have but it's the most outstanding experience you'll ever have. That's how I learned the values of entrepreneurship. Yes, sometimes it's product driven, but when you can't afford the best chefs at this 27-seat venture, you focus on the intangibles. It's not about having the biggest name, it's not about the best product, it's about having the best experience."