Asheville diners crave the spicy stews and fermented flatbreads of this East African cuisine: It’s been voted No. 1 in the “restaurant Asheville needs” category in the Best of WNC poll for the past five years.
Despite the demand, Desoto Lounge on Haywood Road has been the only source of Ethiopian food in Asheville. It has hosted the Tuesday meals for the last three years. But the recipes involve a lengthy preparation process, and Desoto is ready for a break, says manager Josh Gambrell. The dinners could resume in the future, he adds.
This summer, Neeraj Kebede and Vicki Schomer, owners of the bed-and-breakfast Asheville Green Cottage, announced plans to open an Ethiopian restaurant, Addissae. Since then, they’ve looked at more than a dozen locations, but nothing has worked out. “We feel frustrated that we haven’t been able to find a physical location,” Schomer says. “In the meantime, we want to make sure we get Ethiopian food available in Asheville as soon as possible.”
Kebede and Schomer are in the process of getting permits to start a food truck, although they’ll continue to explore restaurant locations. They’re also interested in making a partnership with a building owner who wants to develop a property into a restaurant.
To learn more about the restaurant’s plans, visit Addissae on Facebook. For more information about Desoto Lounge, visit desotolounge.com.