New restaurant on North Roan Street opened doors last month, serves vegan Ethiopian dish


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A new restaurant on North Roan Street in Johnson City opened its doors last month.

Route 36 Grill serves a meal for every appetite, including burgers, chicken, sandwiches, salads, and an Ethiopian vegan dish.

Owner Yared Desalegn also owns Zachary’s Steakhouse in Kingsport, which has been serving the Tri-Cities for years.

Originally from Ethiopia, Desalegn wanted to incorporate some dishes from his homeland into his menu’s wide array of options.

The newly added dish is vegan and inspired from ingredients he grew up eating. This includes spicy lentil, cabbage with carrots, collard greens, and potatoes. The colorful meal is not listed in the menu, but is instead showcased on Route 36 Grill’s specialty board.

Desalegn moved to the United States in 2001 and previously worked as a server at the five-star Ritz-Carlton restaurant in Atlanta while he attended school for a tourism degree.

According to Desalegn, despite all his work experience, he taught himself how to cook by running his original restaurant in Kingsport.

“The cooking is what I taught myself in my restaurant,”Desalegn said. “I was a server, I managed, and went to school for tourism, but cooking is just what came naturally to me.”

The owner of the two restaurants attributes his success to the opportunity the United States has to offer, his employees, and a hard work ethic.

“I cannot do all this on my own by myself,” Desalegn said. “I have helpers with drive, you know? I have good servers beside me along with good cooks.”

“If you work and try, you can make it, you know? And that’s true; if you try, you can make it in this country.”

Route 36 Grill is open Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.- 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.- 6 p.m., and is closed on Monday. It’s located at 3301 North Roan St. in Johnson City.

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