NoVA food lovers have spoken and they can’t get enough of the ultra-fresh Ethiopian food at Enatye (currently only offering takeout and curbside pickup). The restaurant is a family business, run by Eskinder Kifetew and his brother and sister. Like many restaurateurs, he doesn’t have much time outside of work to explore the region, but he’s come to love it all the same. Here’s why.
Why do you think Enatye won for best Ethiopian food?
The reason is the consistency—the way we make our food and the way we eat. That’s why people love our food.
How would you spend a perfect day in Northern Virginia?
I don’t have time to go out and have fun in this area, but I do have some favorites right near the restaurant for coffee and pastries. Right here [in the same shopping plaza] we have Weird Brothers Coffee. It roasts its own coffee, that’s the thing I like about it. It makes its own fresh roast so the taste is better. Then there is my friend at Scoop of the Hill. He makes macarons. He’s good at what he is doing.
How has your business changed due to quarantine?
Because of the quarantine, everything has changed. We do carryout only. Corona is getting worse and worse. I don’t [work with a] delivery company because they take a lot of the percentage. I hired drivers so I can do delivery myself. I had to change my website so we take orders online. We process everything online. It’s going to take a while to open the restaurants. You don’t want to pack the restaurant the way you used to.
What do you love about living/working in Northern Virginia?
I like the environment. The area is really quiet. You don’t see any crime, you don’t see any robbery. Also, I don’t see other Ethiopian restaurants. I have a lot of community in this area, but most Ethiopians cook at home. Americans and other people don’t know how to make my food, so they have to come and see me. Also, I’m close by to the airport too, to get my own stuff. All my spice comes from home. My mom is the one preparing all the spice. She makes everything for three months, then comes and stays for a while, then goes back.