Since late 2015, Abyssinian Kitchen has been one of the city’s finest spots for Ethiopian food. Sitting in a converted house in Southeast Portland, rooms were converted into dining spaces, where servers would deliver platters of wots and tibs surrounded by little rolls of injera.
However, that little house, where customers would sit on the porch and eat sambusas, will no longer house chef Elsa Wolday and her restaurant: according to a statement posted on social media, Abyssinian Kitchen has left the space, and the team hopes to reopen in a new location after the pandemic ends. “After carefully weighing in on COVID-19 restaurant operating guidelines we’re resigned to the fact that it would be nearly impossible for us to operate safely and successfully in the current space we occupy,” the statement from the restaurant reads. “We plan to re-open in a different setting and at a different location on the other side of this pandemic.” It’s unclear if the team has landed on a new space.
Wolday’s multifaceted, layered dishes made the restaurant a favorite among Portlanders and critics; the Oregonian named it one of the best new restaurants of 2016, and Eater Portland listed the restaurant on its map of essential Portland restaurants. The restaurant closed temporarily closed on March 14, hoping to reopen a few months later. By July, with COVID-19 continuing to spread throughout the state, the team decided to simply leave the space.
Wolday has not responded to requests for comment; this story will be updated with more information.