One year after Salute survived eviction, owner plans community fundraiser

One year after Salute survived eviction, owner plans community fundraiser
Hundreds of community members gathered in support of the charitable Menbere Aklilu after her beloved restaurant Salute E Vita Ristorante faced eviction on Aug. 9, 2016.

By Menbere Aklilu

A year ago [Tuesday] I received a 30-Day notice terminating Salute’s lease. This was devastating news for both my staff and myself. I had invested so much time, energy, and love into the restaurant only to have it taken away from me.

When the Mayor and other City officials found out about my situation they rushed to my aid and together we brainstormed how we could save Salute. On Aug. 9th the Mayor’s Office arranged a press conference to involve the community.

I will never forget Aug. 9, 2016. On that day I witnessed something that I never thought I would see in my entire life. As I stood on the steps of Salute I saw friends and neighbors arrive, but it didn’t stop there, people kept coming from all over crowding around Salute holding signs of support, chanting words of encouragement. At that very moment I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy. I looked around and realized that I was home. I was among people who loved me and supported me. I was part of the community.

After that day all I have wanted to do was pay back the community for their unconditional support. I think I’ve found the perfect way of doing it:

Join me at Salute E Vita on Thursday Aug. 10 for a day of giving back. I will be donating 20-percent of the day’s proceeds: 10-percent to the Richmond Police Activities League (RPAL) and 10-percent to the Contra Costa College Foundation.

RPAL’s mission is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for youth through recreational, educational, cultural and social programs while building positive relations between Police Officers and the community. You can learn more about them at

The Contra Costa College Foundation supports student success initiatives and academic programs. They believe that every person, regardless of resources, should have access to meaningful education and training at Contra Costa College.

To learn more about this event or to make reservations please contact Jamie at or by calling (510) 215-0803.

Menbere Aklilu owns Salute E Vita Ristorante in Marina Bay, is founder of the “Menbe’s Way” charity fund and is winner of the prestigious Jefferson Award honoring community public volunteerism.