The dining experience you get at Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant (Spokane, WA) is different from the traditional American style.

By Cowan Jenkins (The Gonzaga Bulletin) |

Almaz Mohammad-Ainuu knows she’s selling something that no one else in Spokane is. As the owner and manager of Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Cuisine, it’s not hard for her to tell that her restaurant has a monopoly.

“No one else in Spokane is doing this,” Ainuu said.

And she’s right. Her eatery is the only one listed in the entire Spokane area for African cuisine of any type, much less specifically Ethiopian. Ainuu knows that Ethiopian-style dining is a foreign concept to most residents of Spokane, but in Queen of Sheba she has provided Spokane with a delicious and relatively cheap way to experience part of a culture that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

Ainuu emigrated from northern Ethiopia to the United States in the early ’90s, originally taking up residence in California before moving to Spokane with her husband 12 years ago. Six years into her life in Spokane, Ainuu was ready for a career change. A preschool teacher for 17 years, Ainuu saw a lack of African cuisine in the area and decided to capitalize on her cooking skills, opening Queen of Sheba. Ainuu found a cozy spot inside the Flour Mill, an upscale Spokane shopping mall at 621 W. Mallon Ave. For the last six years, Queen of Sheba has served Spokane with a wonderful medley of meats, spices and vegetables all wrapped up in local grains.

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The dining experience you get at Queen of Sheba is different from the traditional American style. Upon sitting down, you are greeted by a game of Mancala (a popular traditional African board game) to pass the time before your food comes.

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