A Shot in the Dark: At Home in Ethiopia

Cognac, Young Jeezy, and the CD.

There are a few reasons why the Ethio Café and Bar is such a preferred watering hole for patrons in the Central District. For starters, it's one of the few Ethiopian restaurants in the neighborhood that feels like home to black Americans as well. The two ethnicities often exist side by side without commingling, but inside Ethio's—affectionately known as Teddy's—late at night, everyone's just hanging out, talking shit, and getting drunk. It's also located right next door to the popular Haitian restaurant and nightclub Waid's, and Ethio's subsequently picks up much of the neighboring venue's overflow on nights when Waid's is charging a $10 cover that nobody wants to pay. That's how I ended up at Ethio's with a lady friend on a rainy Thursday night, opting to spend $20 on booze rather than on an entrance fee. The music inside was all hood-friendly: Too Short, Young Jeezy, and Juvenile blared through the speakers and cognac was the liquor of choice. It's a relatively small space with a homey feel, and they've got a kitchen in the back. My date and I ordered the chicken tibs, a spicy Ethiopian dish served with berbere and injera. To wash it all down we opted for Heineken and Hennessy. It's a good combination, and Ethio's even has tiny cognac snifters. People flow in and out (mainly to smoke cigarettes) of the bar all night, and it can be a little intimidating from the exterior. But the patrons are all eager to spark a conversation, and the mother/son bartender tandem, who are also the owners, run one of the coolest ethnic dive bars in the CD. 

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