2555 Leavenworth St
Omaha, NE 68197
Have you ever driven past one of those places that seems to try to put everything into one store; a taqueria, a grocery store, and a Cricket location, for example? I've always felt like they were a bit intimidating, but also had a feeling that these were the city's hidden gems. I just knew that the best, most traditional style of ethnic food could be found in places like these.
Well, recently a friend of mine and I worked up the courage to try one out. It is a combination Ethiopian restaurant and South African grocery store located on the corner of 25th and Leavenworth. There is a small parking lot to the left of the building, and you enter through the grocery store. I immediately noticed the lovely, bright textiles on the wall, and anyone who reads this blog knows I adore textiles. I also noticed the vibrant music that reminded me of the energy and enthusiasm of Indian music.
We were told to take any of the tables in the adjacent restaurant area. The dining room was bright and spacious, with calming recessed lighting pointing upward to the white pressed tin ceiling. Some of the larger tables had huge darkwood benches that looked warm and inviting.
Our waiter was extremely nice and helpful, explaining everything to us. He told us where the meats come from, why certain dishes could be found at larger restaurants but not at his, why you drink their spiced tea after the meal (to help with digestion), and how to eat the food itself. Both my friend and I had experienced Ethiopian food before, so it came as no surprise that we eat with our hands. Luckily, each table comes equiped with a roll of paper towels. I personally went through 4 towels throughout the whole meal.
The food generally consists of various creamy sauces arranged on a large piece of spongy bread. You tear off a piece of the bread and use it to scoop up some of the sauce. We chose a combination of vegetarian and meats. My favorite, which is usually the case, was the collared greens. The lentil, potato, and chicken selections were also very tasty.
All of the spices in each selection were well utilized, the food tasted very fresh, and the dining room was exceedingly clean. In addition, the waiter was so friendly and helpful it made the whole experience very enjoyable. In addition, our two-person meal (pictured to the right) cost only $13. So get some friends together and go on a food adventure! You have nothing to lose!
If you're still a little reluctant, check out their profile on yelp.com and you'll see I'm not the only one who's had a great experience here!