Born and raised in Casablanca, Abdellatif Belfessa came to the U.S. with little more than high hopes and a lot of ambition. As a boy, he had worked side by side with his father in a small, family-owned cafe, and dreamed of opening his own some day in America. He began the journey of realizing that dream by landing an entry-level job with a steak house in Oklahoma City.
From there he migrated to Florida where he put himself through college by waiting on tables. After earning a degree in hotel/restaurant management, he left Tampa for New York where he worked his way up the proverbial food chain to Manager.
Then in the summer of 2001, he and a partner took the plunge and opened their own business-- Cafe Medina-- in Manhattan's Union Square district. In its first year of business, the cafe flourished, in spite of 911, and was recognized by The Daily News as one of the best new eateries in the city. The cafe has since been written up in New York Magazine and Time Out New York, among others, and continues to build on its reputation as having the best soup in Manhattan. Plans are in the works to open a second location.
Mr. Belfessa currently lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife and two children