This Syrian Refugee Opened a Falafel Shop in Tennessee. 5 Years Later His Shop Wins 'Nicest Place in America'

Reader’s Digest asked people what’s the nicest place in America. The winning answer was a big surprise: a little falafel shop in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Yassin’s Falafel house is owned by Yassin Terou. His family and him are Syrian refugees who fled the civil war in their country. 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 payment processor Square.