Though they’re one of the main ethnic groups in Ethiopia, the Gurage people are primarily known across the country for their cuisine. So, it’s no wonder that Merkamo Ethiopian Bistro borrowed a Gurage word, “merkamo,” for its name. The term, which describes a beauty that “radiat[es] purity of heart and ‘Joie de Vivre’ for all,” has also been used to describe the owner’s mother—a woman who kept a warm, inviting house where friends and family gathered for decadent meals.
Inviting diners with decadent Ethiopian feasts and a welcoming ambiance, Merkamo Ethiopian Bistro also impresses with a lunch and dinner menu that flourishes with hearty vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. Patrons can sample lamb tripe with spicy beans, and doro wett—a simmering chicken dish typically served on special occasions such as successfully hot-wiring your car after losing the keys in a play-area ball pit. Merkamo also accommodates children with tasty dishes that range from mild beef stew to chicken nuggets.
Springfield Butcher has been filling bellies and empty barbecue pits with fresh, hand-cut steaks and seafood for more than 30 years. Prime cuts of beef range from filet mignon and Prime rib roast to flank steak, cube steak, and fun-size steaks perfect for trick-or-treaters. Other protein options run the gamut from Danish-style pork ribs to game meats including buffalo, venison leg steaks, and wild boar.
Sausages made in-house are available smoked or un-smoked, and bacon wraps its smoky flavor around scallops, which?like the rest of the shop's seafood offerings?are delivered fresh every day, except Sunday. Those looking to go from stove to table as quickly as possible can also opt for oven-ready entrees such as chicken cordon bleu or pork chops with onion stuffing.
BGR The Burger Joint’s burgers start with high-quality ingredients—most importantly, all-natural beef from grain-fed cattle, free to run in the fields and given zero hormones, fillers, or antibiotics. The prime beef is dry-aged, blended, and ground fresh to form patties that are grilled over an open flame, and then placed atop buttery, locally made brioche buns delivered fresh each day. The menu focuses on the Legendary Burger, which includes gourmet toppings such as avocado, applewood bacon, and grilled jalapenos. For nonbeef eaters, the menu's selection of burgers also includes turkey and veggie varieties, as well as The Greek, a seasoned lamb patty topped with tzatziki and feta. Burgers are also available in a lettuce wrap or on a salad in a healthy salad bowl.
Diners can request all of BGR The Burger Joint's freshly made fries—from thick-cut yukon gold potatoes to asparagus fries—be topped with parmesan, rosemary, roasted garlic, or a tiny tiara. The staff hand-spins shakes with Gifford's or Breyers ice cream to create extra-thick treats for finishing off meals, and some shops curate their own selection of bottled vintage sodas and offer beer and wine.