Lalibela Restaurant to reopen Saturday

Aug. 8, 2018

The long-awaited return of Lalibela Restaurant is happening Saturday.

Mulugeta Endayehu has wrapped up the conversion of the former Bargain Butcher at 10th Street and Kiwanis Avenue into a restaurant, and his wife, Marta, is ready to begin cooking their Ethiopian dishes again.

The new space will seat 99 diners and will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The menu will be the same as the restaurant that operated for 15 years in a retail center at 11th Street and Grange Avenue. Lalibela closed in the spring of 2017 because the site was being redeveloped for a Kum & Go gas station.

Endayehu didn’t rush into reopening the restaurant because he wanted to find the right location.

“My loyal customers, everybody was calling and asking, ‘Did you get a location? When will you open?’ … Now, I am glad we are ready to open.”

Endayehu scouted locations while working as a Lyft driver. The restaurant’s new home, which he is purchasing with the help of financing from Bank Midwest and Dakota Business Finance, is the eighth space he considered.

He bought the building in April and has been working since then to turn the former grocery store into a restaurant. He redid the space from top to bottom and added a kitchen.

The new location includes a game room with two tables for carombole billiards, which is played by hand. There’s also a stage, which will be used for displays of Ethiopian items and occasional entertainment, Endayehu said.

The restaurant’s most popular dishes are the combination plate and tibs, which is pan-fried beef or lamb prepared with vegetables. Everything is served with injera, a flat bread that is used as a utensil.

“You eat with your fingers, and use the bread to aid it. Most people in Sioux Falls coming to taste our food, they know how to eat,” Endayehu said. “In 2003, I show everyone how to eat, but now they know.”

The spices used in Ethiopian dishes are very distinctive, he said.

“All of the spices, we get from home,” said Endayehu, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1999 and has called Sioux Falls home since then. “We have a distributor in Minneapolis to get those.”

The family is happy to return to cooking for its loyal customers.

“We are ready to get open and start serving.”

Lalibela Restaurant to reopen Saturday

Mulugeta Endayehu has wrapped up remodeling for the new location of Lalibela Restaurant, and his wife, Marta, is ready to begin cooking their Ethiopian dishes again.

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