In a recent article in the Telegram & Gazette, Charlie Yousef, a member of the College of the Holy Cross class of 2005, discussed his role as founder of Libani Mediterranean, a frozen food company that hopes to be in supermarkets across America in the near future. The products are all-natural, and include Greek Feta Veggie Flats, Turkish Pizza Beef Flats, Feta-Spinach Pockets, and Spinach Pockets.
Yousef’s family immigrated to the U.S. from Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983. His father, Malki Yousef, operated a Mediterranean market on Grafton Hill in Worcester for many years and his Uncle George (his father’s brother) also was in the food business.
Libani Mediterranean food is based on traditional family recipes. “My uncle cranked out the most delicious, handmade Lebanese, meaty flatbreads (lahm ajoun) and spinach pockets. I used to make sure my freezer was packed with the meat pies and spinach pockets, and my dorm mates made sure it went empty,” said Yousef about his time on the Hill. “Literally, friends living at Hanselman used to knock on my door and ask, ‘Hey, Charlie do you have any more of those meat pies your uncle makes?’”
A political science major with an economics minor at the College, Yousef began his career working in finance after graduation. In 2007, he worked with a cousin in opening a new territory for Dunkin’ Donuts in Nashville, Tenn. “It was a great business experience,” Yousef told the Telegram & Gazette.
In 2009, he returned to the Boston area to help in the development of a new franchise, Cheeseboy: Grilled Cheese to Go. The flagship location opened in South Station, according to Yousef.
After deciding to start a food business of his own, Yousef met an unfortunate time in 2012, when his father passed away. “After the loss, we carried on as a family,” Yousef said. “Personally, I was more determined than ever to make my family business a success.”
A taste test of Libani Mediterranean products held last year in Kimball Hall at Holy Cross proved very successful. “More than 90 percent of the 700 students who participated loved the food and would like to see it in supermarkets,” said Yousef.
This ‘Holy Cross in the News’ item by David Cotrone ’13.