Celebrate Menbe’s Birthday

To RSVP to this event please click here

Menbe invites you to come celebrate her Birthday at Salute on Sunday, July 16th from 2pm to 7pm and help raise funds for Eric, Aiden and Jasiah who lost their mother on April 4th. They witnessed their mother’s murder just like Menbe did when she was only ten. The boys were left with no one to care for them but their grandmother Barbara Harris, a long time Richmond Resident. “Those children are me,” Menbe said. “I know exactly what they are going through.” Despite the tragedy, Menbe knows that the boys will be OK. “I came out OK, and so will they.” During her “Yes, You are Worthy” Mother’s Day Brunch Menbe pledged to help in any way she could so that the children could continue their education.

For her 55th birthday Menbe wants nothing more than to be able to fulfill her promise. She invites you to come and celebrate with complimentary food, wine, champagne and dessert. In lieu of gifts please make a tax deductible donation to the boy’s education fund. Make checks out to The Richmond Community Foundation and reference Menbe’s Way in the memo section.

These boys have been through enough already. Your support will allow them to continue thier education, uninterrupted. Our fundraising goal for this event is $30,000. To reach our goal we have layed out a convenient giving guide:

Level 1: $150 | Level 2: $500 | Level 3: $1,000

For questions please call (510) 215-0803
Menbe’s Way Fund is managed by the Richmond Community Foundation 501 (c)(3) Charity FED ID# 94-3337754


Richmond restaurant owner who lost mother hosts brunch for motherless boys

Aklilu is hosting her fifth annual “Yes, You Are Worthy” brunch with a slight theme shift: While in years past she has focused on single mothers living in public housing, this year, she will shine a light on children who have lost their mothers to gun violence, just like she did.


Peterson: Richmond woman’s Mother’s Day event a respite from grief

Menbere Aklilu hugs Jasiah Porter-Franklin, 3, as she greets him, Dolores Gholar, left, and Aiden Porter, 5, at her Salute e Vita Ristorante in Richmond, Calif. on Friday, May 12, 2017. Jasiah and Aiden’s mother, Rashanda Franklin, was recently killed and this lunch is for the families of victims of domestic and gun violence. Rashanda Franklin was Gholar’s niece.


Mother’s Day

Menbere Aklilu invites you to make 2017 Mother’s Day Weekend a very special weekend for 200+ Bay Area families. Mother’s Day is coming quickly, and you can help make this day special for an especially deserving mother.

On Friday, May 12th Menbe will host her annual “Yes You are Worthy” brunch for 75 single, low-income Richmond mothers for brunch, with the added treat of special mommy pampering from Richmond’s local day spas. The guest of honor this year will be Barbara Harris, mother of Rashanda Porter-Franklin (the mother of three small children who recently perished during a domestic dispute in Richmond, CA).
Menbe will continue the celebration on Saturday, May 13th, Menbe will create a 4-course luncheon at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland for 150 mothers who are spending time with their children in the hospital during Mother’s Day weekend. The luncheon will be an elegant affair featuring the finest tableware, special flat & silverware and special gifts for the devoted mothers.
To make these wonderful project a success we need your support. Here’s how you can help:

  1. Donate a gift: We are still collecting presents to gift to the mothers. We want the gifts to be special and meaningful, so please donate something that you would personally give to your own mother or would want to be gifted to you. We’re thinking scarves, full-size lotions, and $25 Visa gift cards so they can purchase a meal the following day.
  1. Volunteer: There are many volunteer positions available for this event. We are looking for Gift Wrapping volunteers. We also need volunteers to help set up, serve, and clean up the site on the event date. For more information on volunteer assignments call us at (510) 215-0803
  1. Donate: This event is made possible by the Menbe’s Way Fund. Menbe’s Way is managed by the Richmond Community Foundation. To make a tax-deductible donation to the Menbe’s Way Fund please visit this link.

Buona Pasqua!

In the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition, we observe a Holy Lent Fast called Tsom which lasts 55 days. During Tsom, we abstain from all meat and dairy products, including eggs and eat a light meal once a day, usually consisting of lentils. After Tsom we celebrate Fasika, what we call Easter in Amharic.

When I was young, preparations for Fasika began with my brother heading to the market to buy a lamb. I was always so proud when we ended up with the biggest lamb in our neighborhood. Every time I would take the lamb to graze I would make sure to slow down as I passed Dagamawit’s house, she was my arch nemesis, and I wanted to make sure she saw my families big beautiful lamb.

In the beginning, Tsom is always exciting. I loved being able to do something that all the adults were doing, it made me feel mature. But after only ten days I was over it. I would beg my brother, Messele, for a little chicken or even just a little sweet treat and he always gave me the same answer: “No!”

The last day of Tsom was always the hardest. All the women would gather in our kitchen and start preparing our Easter feast and the men would go outside and slaughter the lamb (I made sure to stay away during that part!). I would run around gathering spices, help pluck the chickens, and sometimes I was even allowed to stir the Doro Wat (a spicy Ethiopian chicken stew). Oh, that day was torture! There was so much food and the house smelled so delicious, I couldn’t wait until the next day when I could stuff my face full of food.

Years later, I celebrated my first Easter in Italy. To my surprise, I found that my new home had many similar Easter customs to those of Ethiopia. The first was lamb. No Ethiopian Easter feast was complete without a roasted lamb and the same was true in Italy. For many Italians, Pasqua (Easter in Italian) without lamb on their table is hard to imagine. The custom of eating lamb at important religious feasts goes back thousands of years. One of my personal favorite recipes for lamb is Abbacchio alla Scottadito, which literally means “lamb that burns the fingers”.

The second similarity is Easter Bread. In Napoli, they make a Neapolitan Easter Bread call Casatiello. It’s filled with cured meats and cheese and topped with whole eggs. It was one of my favorite Easter treats. Ethiopia also has an Easter bread that’s very similar to Casatiello called Yedoro Dabo. We make Doro Wat and stir in whole hard boiled eggs, then we mix this into the dough and bake it. You end up with a savory bread that if stuffed with chicken and eggs, it’s quite delicious.

Although Italy and Ethiopia couldn’t be more different, both cultures have played an important part in who I am as an individual. I’m proud to consider myself an Italian but I always make sure to remember my Ethiopian roots. Easter is the perfect time to reflect on where we have come but also plan a course for our future. I wish you all a happy Easter and remember “a tavola non si invecchia” (at the table we never grow old).

Buona Pasqua!



International Women’s Day 2017

This year, in honor of International Women’s Day, Menbe will be donating 10% of all her restaurant’s sales on March 8th to the Family Justice Center of Richmond. The Family Justice Center has been a cause close to Menbe’s heart for a long time. Menbe donated $15,000 when the center first opened their doors in 2015 and then $20,000 last year. She also hosts multiple fundraising events for the center at Salute throughout the year. Menbe hopes that on this International Women’s Day the community rallies behind the Family Justice Center and helps raise funds for such a vital organization.

Why does Menbe support the Richmond Family Justice Center? After years of physical and verbal abuse and over 8 months pregnant, Menbe found herself alone in the streets of Rome. She had just snuck out of her home in the middle of the night, fearing for her life. She eventually wandered into a women’s shelter ran by the Mother Teresa Sisters, where she later gave birth to her son, Christian. “When I was being abused, I stayed; I had nowhere to go, no one to help me. With a space like the Family Justice Center, I know where to bring women who need a way out of an abusive relationship.” Menbe knows that organizations like the Family Justice Center of Richmond can be the difference between life and death for some women and that’s why she does everything she can to make sure that they have the funds necessary to carry on their amazing work.


Why Italians Love Prosecco

Why I always drink Prosecco before dinner
by Menbere Aklilu

March 2017

In my recent trip to Italy, I had the chance to have dinner with some old friends. I had actually worked as a maid, cleaning toilets, washing dishes and cooking for their family just after Christian was born. It was in their kitchen that I learned many of the recipes that I serve at Salute today. We spent hours at the table, reminiscing. It was there, at a little trattoria in Rome that I realized that the one thing I miss the most about living in Europe is the ritual of eating. In Rome and most of Europe, eating involves hours at the table with multi-course meals where good wine plays a supporting role to food. Here, in America, I feel we rush through meals, always too busy to slow down and enjoy life.

One of my favorite dining rituals is the aperitivo. In America, people drink martinis before dinner, but this does nothing for the palette or the digestion. In Italy we always start dinner with an aperitivo, they’re meant to stimulate the appetite and prime the senses for the meal. The aperitivo is a sort of statement, it says “I’m here to eat. I’m here to enjoy myself and my company and I’m in no hurry.” Some common aperitivos are Gin and Tonic, sweet vermouth with soda water over ice, and of course my favorite, Prosecco.

Nothing says I’m ready to enjoy a great meal with good friends than a glass of chilled Prosecco. I always taught Christian, my son, that a good Prosecco is meant to clean out the taste (both physically and mentally) of the day and prepare the palette for the evening. It marks the shift from daytime worries to an evening of friends and family. Great Prosecco is normally light, frothy, clean and airy, and often times has a touch of sweetness, which helps in preparing you for your meal.

Next time you sit down for dinner with your friends and family start off with a glass of Prosecco and see how the worries of the day wash away and don’t forget: a tavola non si invecchia!

–  Menbere

Make this Valentine’s Special

  • This Valentine’s Day, treat your loved one to dinner at Salute! We will be serving a very special Valentine’s Menu with some of our favorite dishes. Join us for dinner starting at 3pm. For further questions please call us at (510) 215-0803

Superbowl Sunday!!

Join us on Sunday, February 5th at 3:30pm for the Super Bowl LI viewing party. We’ll be viewing the game live on three large TVs so you won’t miss a second of action. We’ll be extending our Happy Hour from 2-7pm so you can enjoy our Happy Hour specials which include $5 Pints of our Draft Beer or $5 Well Drinks along with delicious appetizers. We’ll be debuting some great new items on our Happy Hour menu that you won’t want to miss.

New Year Celebration!!