Abebech Ejersa was beaming when I popped in her new place at 4111 East McDowell Road in Phoenix on Sunday.
"I couldn't have done it without all the wonderful people who came to visit me," she said.
Ejersa, chef and owner of Ethiopian Famous Restaurant & Coffee, was celebrating the first day at her restaurant's new location. A big move considering just last September the only Ethiopian restaurant in Phoenix was tucked behind a curtain at the back of a convenience store on 16th and Roosevelt.
And Ejersa, who moved to the United States four years ago after running her own restaurant in Ethiopia, is planning a grand opening party to celebrate.
Ejersa has kept her small offering of vegetarian and non-vegetarian traditional Ethiopian favorites served on trays covered with injera. Wat platters are the go-to dish, but there are also hot bowls of fragrant yebeg tibs (lamb marinated in garlic and rosemary) and kaywot yesiga (cubed beef with a slightly Southwestern flavor).
Ethiopian Famous Restaurant's new interior is larger and has been redecorated. The walls are painted the same bright plum as the original, there are tables and chairs as well as the traditional basket tables called mesobs, and Ejersa has kept a space reserved for her Ethiopian coffee ceremony -- a ritualized form of making and drinking coffee and one I would highly recommend experiencing.
Ethiopian Famous Restaurant & Coffee is now open for business and Ejersa tells me she will be celebrating her grand opening on Saturday, September 15. Call the restaurant for details.
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Ethiopian Famous Restaurant & Coffee 4111 East McDowell Road 602-275-5663 Hours: Daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. www.ethiopianfamousrestaurantandcoffee.com