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Adenah Bayou


Adenah owns $220 Million in Real Estate, Multiple Restaurants and Creates Jobs in her Community

At age 13, Adenah Bayoh escaped the civil war in her native country of Liberia, immigrated to the United States, and is now one of the most successful entrepreneurs in New Jersey.

Adenah has amassed a $220 million real estate development portfolio of several major residential and commercial urban properties across northern New Jersey. She also operates several individual IHOP franchises and Cornbread, her own signature line of soul food restaurants.

In this interview, we discuss the ways her life experiences have contributed to her success. We also discussed her passion for giving back to her community, and how her grandmother inspired her to get into the restaurant business.

CLICK HERE for the interview and Don’t forget to LIKE the video and SUBSCRIBE to the channel!

Tony O. Lawson

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Adenah Bayoh to Serve Free Breakfast & Lunches at Her 3 IHOPs and Guarantee 2 Weeks of Pay for Her Workers

Restaurateur and real estate developer Adenah Bayoh announced yesterday that she will be providing free take-out breakfast and lunch on weekdays at her 3 IHOP locations, Paterson, Newark, and Irvington, NJ every day until school reopens.

adenah bayoh
Adenah Bayoh

Starting March 19th, families in need can pick up pancakes for breakfast from 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. and sandwiches for lunch between 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. While this measure is to provide for children who are out of school and have therefore lost access to breakfast and lunch, any individual who is in need during this crisis can take advantage of this opportunity.

“The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the most vulnerable people in our society,” remarked Adenah Bayoh, Founder of Adenah Bayoh & Companies. “I grew up in communities where I learned that nothing is more important than taking care of each other.

No child should go without a meal because schools are closed. No adult should be hungry while navigating the risks of a global pandemic. It is my pleasure and privilege to serve the communities that have been so integral to the success of my businesses.”

Adenah is also working with Irvington Councilwoman Jamillah Z. Beasley, to deliver free meals to seniors in Irvington. While all of Adenah’s businesses, including the 4 New Jersey and Pennsylvania locations of her Cornbread restaurants, will be on limited operations for the next 2 weeks, she has guaranteed that all of her employees will be paid, whether they are able to work or not.

adenah bayoh

She has tasked her general managers with ensuring that employees have everything they need including shift adjustments if they have childcare conflicts while school is out.

adenah bayoh
“Unprecedented times require unprecedented solutions,” added Adenah. “This is a moment for businesses to step up and give back to the communities that support us every day. As business owners we must invest in the safety and security of the places we call home, and ensure that all of our people survive this crisis.”

Whether it is her annual “Breakfast for Dinner” event where she serves 750 families at her IHOP locations every December, or hosting Thanksgiving dinner for Newark families, Adenah makes it a priority to serve the communities where her businesses are located.


-Tony O.Lawson


Black Owned Restaurant Partners with Walmart to create over 30 Jobs

Cornbread is a unique Black owned restaurant that is creating jobs and a space where traditional soul food dishes are prepared using ingredients that are free of steroids and hormones.

Recently, the restaurant announced that they are working with Walmart to expand into three Walmart stores in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. All three restaurant locations will open this year with the inaugural location set to open on July 5th.

Black Owned Restaurant

Cornbread’s mission is to passionately invest in its employees and in the communities where it does business. The inaugural location, in a leased space at Walmart, is expected to create approximately 35 new job opportunities.

Black Owned Restaurant

“This expansion is the culmination of two years of hard work by my co-founder, Zadie, and our amazing team. Cornbread was born out of a vision and belief that we could create a space where friends and family can enjoy soul food that is also healthy and where we invest in our employees. We also wanted to ensure that our food was accessible, which is why this collaboration with Walmart is so important,” explained Adenah Bayoh, co-founder of Cornbread.

“When I began my journey as a restaurateur, I was turned down by seven banks before I was able to secure the financing I needed to purchase my first restaurant. Now, 13 years later, my own signature soul food restaurant is expanding outside of New Jersey with the support of the largest retailer in the country.”

Adenah Bayoh and Elzadie “Zadie” Smith are the co-founders of the restaurant

Cornbread’s menu and flavor profiles were crafted by Zadie B. Smith, a native of Georgia with life-long culinary experience. Adenah Bayoh is a restaurateur who opened her first restaurant at age 29.


To learn more about Cornbread, please visit

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG@thebusyafrican) and Guest contributor Vernon Williams


Adenah Bayoh Escaped Civil War and Built a $225M Real Estate Portfolio

When Adenah Bayoh was eight years old, civil war in Liberia forced her into a refugee camp. She immigrated to the U.S. when she was thirteen. By the time she was twenty-seven, she was one of the youngest IHOP franchise owners in the country. Her location soon became one of the most profitable in the Northeast.

Adenah has since received numerous awards and has been named one of the top 50 business women in New Jersey and one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100. In 2015, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York named Adenah to its Small Business and Agricultural Advisory Council. We recently had a chat with her about her amazing journey. This is what she had to say:


SB: What was the most valuable lesson you learned from your experience in a refugee camp?

AB: I learned that becoming a victim in difficult circumstances is a choice and that it was not going to be my choice. Escaping the war motivated me. I wanted to find opportunities and move forward instead of looking back.

I learned that even in the toughest situations there were always options and resources I could tap if I was willing to work hard enough. When we were in the refugee camp, my cousin and I would cross back into Liberia to get fruits and vegetables and then sell them in the camp in Sierra Leone. I was always hungry for opportunities.

SB: You were very close to your grandmother. How did she shape the person you are today?

AB: My grandmother would always say, “you have to wake up before everyone else and do more than everyone else,” and that wasn’t just an inspirational quote. She really lived that way. My grandmother played a big part in raising me when we lived in Liberia because my parents were working in America to pay for our schooling.

My grandmother is an amazing woman. She owned over 100 acres of farmland, she owned restaurants, and she was involved in real estate. She was highly respected and growing up, she really helped to shape my entrepreneurial drive. When I was six, she told me that I had a skill for business and had me working in her restaurant. I’m really thankful to her for helping me to realize my own potential and giving me a space to learn at a young age.

SB: What sparked your interest in real estate?

AB: Well, I knew it was a possible venture because as I mentioned, my grandmother owned a lot of real estate in Liberia. I chose to get involved because I knew it would be a solid investment.

In college at Fairleigh Dickinson University, I served as an Residents Assistant in the dorms and after I graduated and got my first renter, I realized that I was doing a lot of the same kind of work, except I was the benefactor.


SB: Community development is a passion of yours. In what ways do use your businesses benefit the communities where they are located?

AB: After immigrating to the U.S., I lived in Newark and saw firsthand how this community was often overlooked by businesses and investors. The negative perceptions about crime and the lower-income population didn’t inspire a lot of businesses to invest and those that did invest didn’t bring the kind of quality goods and services that are offered in other communities.


My goal was to bring high quality services to Newark and other urban markets and to ensure that my real estate development projects and other ventures bring value, generate opportunities, and serve as a catalyst for more economic development. I also make it a priority to utilize and support minority and local businesses and to invest in the people in these communities. I believed that when communities such as these get better the world gets better.

SB: Why is it important for you to expand your business interests to West Africa? What are you planning for West Africa?

AB: I have a yearning to help rebuild my home country of Liberia. I’m currently working to start a nonprofit called “Hope Well” there. It will be a mobile clinic that can provide medical care, screenings, and important supplies to the villages in the country’s interior.


SB: This summer, you will open your first fine dining establishment, Cornbread. What should we know about Cornbread?

AB: I’m really proud to announce that Cornbread will be my own signature line of fast casual, farm-to-table, soul food restaurants. Also, the support of sustainable and organic farming practices will be central to Cornbread’s goal of serving high-quality soul food.

CB 2015-12-22 at 8.25.33 AM

We’ll be sourcing our meat, fish, and produce from over 120 small-production, family-owned farms throughout the New Jersey and Pennsylvania region and we excited to cultivate a true “farm to soul” experience. The first location will open in Maplewood, New Jersey.

CB 2015-12-22 at 8.24.59 AM

SB: Based on what you have learned so far, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs in any industry?

AB: I would tell them to be present and stay in the moment because you never know when you will need to draw on your various experiences. Don’t allow your circumstances turn you into a victim and keep a positive attitude. When I arrived in America, I was severely behind in academics, but I didn’t let that intimidate me. It seemed like there were endless possibilities in this country, so I pushed to be the best.


There’s no substitute for hard work, but when you’re motivated and driven, nothing or no one can stop you. Additionally, don’t be deterred by “No.” I was turned down by seven banks before I was able to secure a loan for my first IHOP. However, those seven “No’s” prepared me for my “Yes”. By the time I got to the 8th bank I had addressed every possible issue, concern, or question so there was no way I could be denied.


Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson