Lucy Restaurant Brings Ethiopian Food to West Side for the First Time

[image-1]And then there were three.

For 25 years, Cleveland has had to make do with a single Ethiopian restaurant, the lovely Empress Taytu (6125 St. Clair Ave., 216-391-9400). Last year, that pioneering eatery was joined by Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant, which is quickly making a name for itself in Cleveland Heights (2240 Lee Rd., 216-465-3239). And now we welcome Lucy Restaurant (2218 Broadview Rd., 216-417-2550), an Old Brooklyn restaurant dedicated to the food and drink of Ethiopia.

“We see the Ethiopian community in Cleveland keep growing,” explains owner Desalegn Sisay. “We just established a second church on the west side of Cleveland and we’re seeing a lot of new faces all the time.”

Sisay, who purchased the building most recently home to Casablanca Bar and Restaurant, says that his passion for the restaurant business extends back to his time back home in Ethiopia. His cook also hails from that country.

Sisay says that guests to Lucy can expect traditional Ethiopia foods, service and decorations. The cuisine is characterized both by its unique flavors and its communal presentation, a family-style approach with multiple items arriving on a large platter. Vegetable, grain, meat and fish-based stews, some of which are spicy, are scooped up and eaten with small pieces of injera, a spongy flatbread made from fermented teff batter. Silverware is provided for those who prefer it.

Doro wat, perhaps the most familiar dish, is a spicy chicken-based stew made with berbere, a fiery spice blend. Derek tibs is a flavorful beef stir-fry with onion and peppers, while kitfo is a tartar-like dish of raw ground beef mixed with spices an eaten with injera. Many Ethiopian dishes are built around lentils, split peas, chick peas and greens, making them popular with vegetarians. Meat and vegetarian combination platters are popular option that display many of the most popular items on a single platter.

In addition to draft domestic and imported beers, and Ethiopian mead called tejj, the restaurant offers a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

The owner says he chose the name Lucy in honor of the archeological discovery made by Donald Johanson in 1975 while he was curator of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

“The name has a connection with Cleveland history,” explains Sisay.

The restaurant is open every day for lunch and dinner except Monday.
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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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