Faozou Ligali, owner of Ligali’s Bistro in the historic Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, moved to the United States from the Republic of Benin, West Africa in 2009. Benin is a former French colony, and many Beninese students immigrate to France after high school. In 2001 Ligali emigrated from Africa to Paris, where he lived for eight years, before relocating to the United States. The move was a relatively easy transition for Ligali, who chose to move to the United States to build his English-language skills. Ligali spent a year in Indiana, where he lived with a Beninese friend while studying at a local university. In 2010 Ligali moved to Cleveland, where he continued to hone his language skills at Cuyahoga Community College. 


Ligali is a serial entrepreneur. He co-owned a restaurant in Paris and opened a car dealership in Indiana. Although still an active partner in the Indiana dealership, Ligali began to explore business opportunities in Cleveland. He fell in love with a space in the Tremont neighborhood on the city’s near-west side. “Tremont is trendy, historical, and cultural”, says Ligali, a resident of Westlake. Ligali feels welcomed by the community, and although the process of opening a business was not easy, he has learned from his mistakes. In March 2015 Ligali celebrated the first anniversary of his namesake restaurant. For now, he continues to work on his businesses and is thinking of expanding by opening a lounge in a new space.