Diane Betler was born in Pendleton County, West Virginia and came to Helvetia as a child to live with her adopted mother Margaret Koerner, an immigrant from Germany. Ms. Koerner was a skilled home cook from her Diane learned many traditional recipes, including yeast-raised doughnuts.
Cecelia Smith is part of the Pickens Improvement and Historical Society, the Farm Women’s Club, and occasionally volunteers at the Hutte Restaurant in Pickens, West Virginia.
Zhenia Martinez co-owns Las Delicias, a Latino panaderia (bakery) on Charlotte’s Central Avenue.
Majid Amoorpour was born in Iran. He left with his family, to escape the Iraq-Iran Wars in 1980, moving to Sweden where he was introduced to a whole new world of tastes.
Juan Sanchez Gonzalez co-owns Carnitas Guanajuato with his wife, Rosario Vásquez Reyes. Mr. Gonzalez is from Dolores Hidalgo in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. He was only twelve years old the first time he cooked them, helping his dad fry up the pork and sell it to folks at jaripeos, which are bull-riding events.
Izzat Freitekh was born inside Old City Jerusalem, Israel, as was his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. In 2007, when political tensions grew in Jerusalem, Mr. Freitekh made the decision to move his family of eight to the United States. He chose Charlotte to be close to his son, Tariq.
Hally Chirinos grew up working the register at her parents’ (Henry and Delmi Chirinos) restaurant El Pulgarcito, where her heritage is showcased in a menu featuring Honduran, Salvadoran, and Mexican foods that keep customers returning weekly for a familiar taste of home.
Dino Mehic owns and operates Euro Grill & Cafe and Bosna Market. His son, Mesa Mehic, helps run the restaurant and market. He tells his story in the Charlotte’s Central Avenue Corridor oral history project.
An “Dan” Nguyen owns Lang Van, a Vietnamese restaurant in the Shamrock neighborhood of Charlotte. Ms. Nguyen is from Saigon, Vietnam and arrived in Charlotte in 1999. Listen to her story of setting out on foot to find work in a restaurant and her path to eventual ownership of that restaurant.