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New Ethiopian Restaurant with Robust Menu Plans Early 2021 Opening

Shewa-Ber in the Central District will have kitfo rolls, quanta firfir, and lots of vegetarian options

The outside of Shewa-Ber restaurant in bright yellow letters
Shewa-Ber aims to open in February 2021.
Mike Tsenga [Official Photo]

One intriguing new Ethiopian place joins a short list of early 2021 restaurant openings. Shewa-Ber aims to make its debut sometime in February, setting up shop at 1801 S Jackson Street (in-between the Central District and Little Saigon), with quite a robust menu to start.

From the initial look of things, there will be a wide variety of Ethiopian and Eritrean dishes, including crispy kitfo rolls cooked in clarified butter, quanta firfir, shiro, and a whole separate section for vegetarians, with injera made onsite. The sheer volume appears to be somewhat of a departure from other new restaurants that have pared things back due to the pandemic, but is a welcome sight for those who want to try a broad range of items.

Shewa-Ber comes from owner Mike Tsega, who was born near Addis Ababa and has a lot of experience in the hospitality industry, since his parents own and operate a 45-year-old restaurant in Ethiopia. He tells Eater Seattle that the proximity to the many other Ethiopian places in the neighborhood (including favorites like Hahu and Chef Cafe) was attractive, and he’s looking forward to developing relationships with local farms as the restaurant evolves. Tsega recently hired his sister, Roman Michael, to helm the kitchen.

Though the restaurant’s sign read “a gate to Central Ethiopia,” Tsega says the restaurant will offer food that represents many different regions of Ethiopia and Eritrea. He also hopes to create an extensive, thoughtfully-curated beer and wine list that highlights local purveyors, and plans to serve coffee drinks made through the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, which includes roasting beans over an open flame.

Tsega is still putting the finishing touches on the space — a modern, intimate spot in a residential building with some outdoor seating (should the permits go through), and a large, high-end kitchen built for efficiency. More than anything, he and Roman Michael are just excited to introduce aspects of their family’s culinary roots to Seattle soon. “This is my passion,” Tsega says.