For his sophomore project in D.C., Eater DC’s 2021 Chef of the Year Elias Taddesse remixes American soul food with Ethiopian flavors out of a tiny new to-go operation in Shaw.
Takeout and delivery-only Doro Soul Food opens Thursday, November 17 in a virtual food hall near Howard University (1819 7th Street NW). The first 50 in-person guests at 11 a.m. can sample some of its hopeful hits for free: a fried doro chicken plate with black cumin qibe-drenched cornbread and doro wat-spiced macaroni and cheese.
Other Ethiopian spins on American soul food sides include turmeric coleslaw, mashed potatoes drizzled with timiz peppercorn gravy, and collard greens braised with smoked turkey and Ethiopian spices.
Doro Soul Food is the anticipated follow-up to Mélange, his two-year-old smash hit in Mt. Vernon Triangle where he wows diners with doro wat fried chicken sandwiches and brown butter aioli cheeseburgers. Inventive mashups pay homage to his East African heritage, fine-dining background at Michelin-starred restaurants in NYC, and nostalgia for American drive-thrus.
At Doro Soul Food, the star of the show is bone-in fried and char-grilled chicken and chicken sandwiches. Spice levels start at mild (naked) and ascend to hot (berbere) to very hot (mit mita) bathed in the chef’s own fiery sauces. The menu makes room for vegans with fried chicken-style tenders and sandwiches made from jackfruit and pea protein.
Pickup and delivery runs from 11 a.m. on Tuesday to Sunday and until as late as 10 p.m. on weekends. Taddesse plans to add catering to the equation soon.
Mélange got its start a pop-up at Shaw’s Wet Dog Tavern in early 2017, and Doro Soul Food marks Taddesse’s return to the neighborhood.