Elilly Restaurant and Coffee House in Sioux City, Iowa specializes in cuisine that is native to Ethiopia, where the three owners of the restaurant are from.

By Earl Horlyk (Sioux City Journal) |

SIOUX CITY, IA―Makda Gebre is constantly testing her Awaze sauce for taste.

“Awaze is made with (a colorful spice mixture called) berbere, garlic and wine,” she said of the deep, dark and strongly flavored paste that will soon be placed on top of a steak, onions and peppers. “No matter what else you put in it, you want those three ingredients to stand out.”

The head chef at Elilly Restaurant and Coffee House, Makda owns the 1529 Pierce St. restaurant, along with business partners Mohammad Tullo and Tewondros Worku.

All three are originally from Ethiopia, and their restaurant specializes in cuisine that is native to the country located in the Horn of Africa.

“We serve nothing but authentic Ethiopian food,” Tewondros, who goes by the nickname “Teddy,” explained. “You can get a burger or a burrito anyplace but if you want an Ethiopian meal, you must come here.”

A former literature and communications professor in Ethiopia, Tewondros initially learned about restaurant management from his mother.

“My mother owned a small sandwich shop back home,” he said. “She made food that people ate on the go.”

When he moved to the United States more than five years ago, Tewondros wanted to open a restaurant that served family style meals in a comfortable setting.

But first, he needed to make some money.

Continue reading this story at Sioux City Journal
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