Genet Ghebre assures me she’s not opening her family restaurant across the street from Fasika, St. Paul's Ethiopian institution, to make for competition.
She’s opening there because the neighborhood is flush with a large East African community, and another restaurant is needed.
“Fasika is so established,” she says, “And we got nothing but positive feedback when we asked around about opening our restaurant here.”
Ghebre’s is a family affair, where Genet, her two sisters, and their extended family will run the shop. This is their first American restaurant, though they have run diners and restaurants in Eritrea and Ethiopia in the past. The food is based on their mother’s cooking.
There will be beef platters and chicken and spinach platters, the latter being a family speciality; lamb tibs and beef tibs; and hot and spicy chicken stew with a hard boiled egg. There will be vegetable combos and potatoes both spicy and non-spicy, and lots and lots of other things.
She also makes mention that their family is into cooking a little lighter than what you’ve come to expect from Ethiopian cooking, using more vegetable oils than butters. But if you want the full butter, just ask, and they can do that, too.
They’ve got a beer and wine license, and in about a week or so, they’ll be adding traditional East African breakfasts.
Among them (time to learn some terminology): Kitcha, an unleavened wheat bread that’s cooked on one side, then the other, kind of like a pancake; fit-fit, shredded flat bread with spiced clarified butter and the hot sauce berebere served with fresh japapenos; as well as some dishes influenced by Egypt and the middle east including ful, fava beans cooked with cumin, parsley, garlic, onion, lemon juice, and chilis; and fata, a torn bread salad served with yogurt and hot sauce.
How's that for turning breakfast on its head?
Ghebre’s Restaurant is now open, 11a.m to midnight daily.
Breakfast coming soon
512 Snelling Ave., St. Paul