Thursday, November 15, 2007

Little Ethiopia?

From the Chicago Magazine:
Demera (4801 N. Broadway; 773-334-8787), an ambitious Ethiopian spot across the street from the Green Mill, opens on November 19th, joining four other Ethiopian restaurants on North Broadway [Ras Dashen, Ethiopian Diamond, Queen of Sheba, and Abyssinia]. “The demand is growing, growing, growing, for Ethiopian restaurants,” says Demera’s owner, Girmai Lemma. “Very soon we are going to [call] this part of Broadway ‘Little Ethiopia.’” This one has classics like doro wat (lemon-marinated chicken stewed in berbere sauce and served with onions, garlic, and ginger; $12), but also sesame firfir. “We roast the sesame and mix with onion, tomato, garlic, and ginger, and put it over injera,” explains Lemma’s wife, chef Tigist Reda. “And we lace it with green pepper.” And, coffee lover’s alert: Demera also roasts its own Ethiopian coffee beans.


  1. So when people ask where I live I can say Little Ethiopia instead of Uptown.

  2. Back in the 80s it seemed like Ethiopians were always the people who were starving due to terrible famine. I'm glad to hear that they have such a rich culinary tradition.

  3. I'm thrilled they were savvy enough to talk with this blog to get the word out about their opening.

  4. Thumbs Up!
    I ate at Demera today and it was great. I eat Ethiopian food all the time, usually at the Ethiopian Diamond in Edgewater. First, I asked my Ethiopian-born garage attendants in my Lake Shore Drive high rise what they thought of it and they gave Demera a big thumbs-up. That’s always a good sign.

    A key reason to go to an Ethiopian restaurant is the coffee. Ethiopia is known for growing great coffee. Ethiopians roast and brew it is a way that produces a very rich, deep flavor without any bitterness. It is very much like that coffee that one can get in cafes in Europe but never find in the US. Why anyone would spend $3.75 on a latte at Starbucks when they can get a whole clay pot of rich Ethiopian brew for $5 across the street is beyond me. The only issue I have is that, so far, Demera does not have coffee carryout, so be prepared to linger over your pot, as is the Ethiopian tradition anyway.

    For Ethiopian novices, you can try the $8 lunch buffet with a selection of entrees, lettuce salad and cut fruit dessert. If you go there during non-buffet hours, a nice, safe choice is always Doro-Tibs, which is diced chicken cooked in a light lemon garlic sauce.

    Ethiopian food is always served on, and with, a flat pancake bread called Injera. It has a sour –dough taste to it. You use the bread to pick up the meat and eat both together.

    But remember to Never use your left hand as this is considered an insult in Ethiopian culture.