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Manhattan Restaurateur Exports Latest Ethiopian Restaurant to Alexandria

Makeda is now open

Timatim fitfit appetizer at Mekada.
Photo: Fredde Lieberman
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Local investor Daniel Solomon and New York chef Philipos Mengistu are putting their stamp on Ethiopian cuisine with Makeda, the new restaurant the dining duo unveiled Monday, October 2 in the shadow of Landmark Mall.

Mengistu, the driving force behind Manhattan mainstay Queen of Sheba, has installed chef Senait “Mimi” Tedla as chef of the new 95-seat space (516 S. Van Dorn Street, Alexandria, Va.), which replaces El Paraiso Mexican restaurant. Tedla’s cooking career extends all the way to Israel; that’s where she previously served as a personal chef, and oversaw both the kitchen and dining room manager at The Israel Goldstein Youth Village in Jerusalem.

The Taste of Makeda platter includes miser wot (red lentils), kik alecha (yellow split peas), shiro (chickpeas), atakilet wot (cabbage and potato), gomen wot (chopped collards), and kitfo (chopped lean beef served with Ethiopian feta cheese).
Photo: Fredde Lieberman

Lamb, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian dishes round out her menu here, which also includes a kid’s section. The menu is packed with authentic sounding dishes including timatim fitfit, an appetizer composed of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and crumbled injera tossed in Ethiopian hot sauce.

Management tell Eater the plan is create a vibrant bar scene. The restaurant features a full lineup of beer, wine, and liquors, and plans to offer live music in the evenings.

The restaurant has all-day service right out of the gate, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week. Online ordering is also an option.

Status: Certified open. 516 S. Van Dorn Street, Alexandria, Va.; website.