Tigist Reda and Girmai Lemma have always loved to entertain. So when they set out to bring a piece of their homeland, Ethiopia, to Chicago, they naturally decided on opening a restaurant. With the restaurant’s menu and atmosphere, the two have recreated their home—Centerstage Chicago marveled that upon entering the eatery, you “immediately feel as though you’ve been whisked off to another continent”.
As chef, Tigist handcrafts sauces and seasonings to authentically flavor entrees such as doro wot—a pair of chicken drumsticks marinated in lemon and berbere. Diners can enjoy their meals in the traditional Ethiopian fashion by ordering from the messob menu. Designed to foster communal dining, messob-style meals include many small portions of dishes from the restaurant’s list of 29 options. These samplings are served on layers of injera bread, which diners use instead of utensils to scoop up bites of spiced seafood, meat, and vegetables. After dinner, patrons can order cups of coffee roasted from the restaurant’s own Ethiopian beans.