This Syrian refugee opened a small falafel shop in Tennessee. It was just named the 'nicest place in America.'

This Tennessee falafel shop was just chosen as the “nicest place in America.”

Reader’s Digest asked people what’s the nicest place in America. The winning answer was a big surprise.

All too often our news feeds are filled with stories of division, prejudice and heartache. So, it was a welcome surprise that a little falafel shop in Knoxville, Tennessee was just named as the “nicest place” in the United States.


Yassin’s Falafel house was chosen amongst a nearly limitless list of possibilities so it’s all the more inspiring to see.

A big part of what makes this story so special is that Yassin Terou and his family are Syrian refugees who came to Tennessee seeking a new and better life. They've become beloved members of their community, serving up delicious food and kindness.

When they arrived in America in 2011, Terou and his family spoke little English, had no friends and relied on fellow attendees at their local mosque for food. Eventually, Yassin began selling sandwiches at the mosque, which eventually led to him opening his falafel shop.

He's kept the kindness going, making a point to embrace people of all faiths and backgrounds, saying it's his way of paying back the love and acceptance his family received when the arrived in America.

“Breaking bread is not only food inside your stomach, it’s love you feel," he said.

Terou got a huge surprise during an appearance on “Good Morning America” in which he was told he and his family were top 10 finalists in the contest. When he emerged on camera, Terou was told in front of an audience of millions that his shop had been chosen as the winner.

And it's not his family's first big recognition. They won a state peace award earlier this year and are even the subjects of a short documentary produced by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

“We are going to keep this country great and we are going to build it together.”

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