The City of Durham, aka Bull City, in North Carolina is about to get its first Ethiopian restaurant o its Main Street – Goorsha Ethiopian Restaurant.

(Bites of Bull City)―People always ask me, “What kinds of food are still missing from the Durham restaurant scene?” One of my go-to answers is “Ethiopian.” I feel like foodie cities are, in a way, required to have good mix of global cuisine, and that should include staples like Thai, Ethiopian, South American, Japanese and Indian.

In the vacant Rainbow Chinese restaurant on W. Main Street, Durham is about to get an authentic Ethiopian experience. We’re very excited to share a sneak peek of Goorsha!

We sat down for a home-cooked meal with owners Fasil TesFaye and Zewditu Zewdie and discussed their plans for the restaurant. Meanwhile, we devoured the delicious lamb stew (pictured in the red bowl below) and tried a sampling of their meat, vegetarian, and vegan platters all with the spongy injera bread used to pinch and pick up the food with your fingers.

BBC: Can you give us a little background about your personal history and how the restaurant concept came about?

FASIL: I have always owned my own business wherever I lived and, when I moved to Durham 12 years ago, I opened a smoothie shop: Big Island Smoothie in Durham and Raleigh. Even though Big Island Smoothie is successful, I have always been excited to bring the food of my native Ethiopian culture to Durham. I was fortunate enough that one of my family members living in Virginia shared this vision (to start a thriving restaurant business in Durham) and we partnered in this new venture. Another friend noticed the former Rainbow Chinese restaurant space across Brightleaf Square was available and contacted us.

ALSO READ: Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant (Chapel Hill, NC) Is Closing

The process of naming the restaurant was yet another interesting experience. We thought about what we would like the restaurant to represent and decided the restaurant should highlight the Ethiopian culture and bring Americans the idea that feeding one another is a representation of community. In Ethiopian culture, friendship, honor, and love are expressed by feeding each other – an act known as a “goorsha.” To perform a goorsha, simply place a bit of food into another’s mouth with your right hand. A goorsha is a sign of acceptance and appreciation,  like a hug between friends.

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