By Alex McCray and Stacy Moser
Just like the sumptuous tacos he serves, the ancestry of chef Mimmo Alboumeh traces a route from Lebanon, Spain, Italy and Mexico. It’s said that the concept of most tacos first originated in Mexico with food brought by Lebanese immigrants, later influenced by spicy Spanish flavors. A self-proclaimed taco addict, chef Mimmo draws on his heritage to create the Mexican cuisine of his popular Red Pepper Taqueria restaurants, including the brand’s 3,600-square-foot Briarcliff Road locale.
Q: How does your heritage influence your views on diversity? What steps have you taken to make inclusion a priority at Red Pepper Taqueria locations?
Mimmo Alboumeh: As a Lebanese American, I know how it feels to be prejudged. First and foremost, I want my work family to be good, hardworking people who take pride in what they do. I like to give other immigrants the opportunities past employers gave to me, so you will see a very diverse staff at Red Pepper. I feel the same way when it comes to our diverse clientele. Everyone is welcome.
Q: What has been the key to your success as an entrepreneur?
MA: Loving what I do. To still be pursuing my passion for more than 20 years is success to me.
MA: We added a prime beef burger named after Buck Lanford of FOX 5 Atlanta, a spicy beef menudo soup, chicken wings, a twist on a fried chicken sandwich, a hibiscus margarita called Espolón Rosa, and new tequilas. We want to always keep the menu fun, seasonal, and full of spice.
Q: You often host charitable events at your restaurants. What new philanthropic initiatives are you focused on?
MA: We are blessed. So, if I see someone in need, I will respond. My team and I are actively involved with the community and have donated time, resources and funds to many local nonprofits. All of the charities we support are special, but my heart is softest for children. Most recently we’ve supported Sporty Girls, Inc. [dedicated to encouraging minority girls to participate in athletics]; Reese’s MaGIC Fund [committed to pediatric cancer research and to prevent and cure germ cell tumors]; Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. [a volunteer group with a commitment to women’s health and Jewish values]; and more.
Q: When you’re off the clock, where do you like to go in Intown?
MA: I like to dine at locally-owned restaurants, especially Kevin Rathbun’s [KROG BAR, KR SteakBar]. I also like to stroll Whole Foods and Your DeKalb Farmers Market to check out new, fresh ingredients to whip up something at home. eatredpepper.com/decatur