Rochester’s Chez Bojji offering soup and winter clothes until Christmas – Reuters

“Free soup.”

It’s a warm sign as people walk in on a cold day in downtown Rochester.

The opportunity?

“What is not the occasion?” said Chez Bojji chef and co-owner Younness Bojji. “You don’t need an opportunity to do something good.”

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The restaurant does not have regular meal times on Mondays. However, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Monday until Christmas, Bojji will be offering free tomato and basil soup to anyone who needs or wants it.

“If you have money, if you don’t, it doesn’t matter, you are welcome to have soup,” he said.

“It’s tasty, warm and full of vitamins,” said Amber Bojji, co-owner of Chez Bojji.

Chef Youness Bojji and his wife Amber Bojji Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, outside Chez Bojji in downtown Rochester. Although Chez Boijji is closed on Mondays, they offer free soup and winter clothes to those who need them. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Traci Westcott

Chez Bojji’s location in the historic Avalon Building, 301 N. Broadway Ave., offers high visibility in a pedestrianized neighborhood near a homeless shelter and the Salvation Army. That means more people who want or need it take up his offer, he said.

“That’s what we want,” he said, adding that more than 80 people accepted the soup on Monday. The tally typically ranges from 60 to 180 people, he added.

Bojji also offers winter coats, hats and gloves for anyone who needs them.

The items are new and donated, he said.

“Nobody takes the leftovers,” he said.

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Free soup and winter clothing for those in need are available from Chef Youness Bojji and his wife Amber Bojji on Monday, December 6, 2021, outside Chez Bojji in downtown Rochester. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin

Traci Westcott

He called the offerings a “tradition” he started at his previous restaurants, including Casablanca at Barlow Plaza. It was something he knew he would do if he ever realized his dream of opening a restaurant.

” I was hungry. I was cold. I ate out of the garbage,” he said.

Bojji said he wasn’t concerned about the cost and didn’t take credit for helping provide for those in need.

“Credit goes to Rochester and people have been supporting me,” he said. “I couldn’t do this without them.”

Elizabeth J. Harless