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18-year-old opens restaurant

Mena Effat is getting a real-life class on business.

A senior at East Mecklenburg High, she has her own restaurant: Menas Grill, 1544 Matthews-Mint Hill Road, opened Oct. 12, offering Mediterranean takeout.

Mena, 18, says she’s left school a little early some days to promote the restaurant. Her father greets customers and takes orders from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., when Mena comes in from school.

“I’m there every day after 2, and on the weekends I’m there all day,” she says. “I didn’t really think it was going to be that hard until (now that) I’ve actually done it.”

She says she sold iPhone cases and accessories in large quantities on eBay to build her income and, with a little help from her father, bought her first piece of real estate. After selling the property, she decided she wanted to reinvest ”because I didn’t want to spend my money on something foolish. I wanted something that was going to bring me in money every month.”

Mena says the roughly 2,500-square-foot site is a good size for a first-time business.

For now, her mother, Safaa, is helping her cook. The family moved to Charlotte from Egypt 10 years ago.

The restaurant is open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, which is also giving Mena a crash course in time management. ”It’s my senior year, so it’s kind of hard,” she said. ”I’m an IB (International Baccalaureate student) also ... but I make time.”

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