Capitol Hill food+drink | Named for a great river, Abay Ethiopian flows onto 10th Ave E

Nothing is wasted. Abay Ethiopian will put the former Skelly and the Bean to use (Image: CHS)

Nothing is wasted. Abay Ethiopian will put the former Skelly and the Bean to use (Image: CHS)

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After a whirlwind week in which yet another super-hyped addition to the Capitol Hill food+drink scene made its debut — yes, I’m talking to you, Lost Lake — it’s good to remember that the restaurant economy in the neighborhood is also built on zero hype players that sometimes benefit from the high-buzz ventures that come and go before them.

Sometime in the next few weeks at the corner of 10th Ave E and E Miller, Blen Mamo Teklu will open his new restaurant.

“If they want to have a good time and try Ethiopian food, it’s the place to come,” Teklu said last week after CHS tracked him down to find out more about the new restaurant.

Abay Ethiopian Restaurant will be cut from similar cloth as many other East African eateries in the Central District and across the city. With large portions and typically relatively low prices, Ethiopian is not a common cuisine in the central parts of Capitol Hill. Somehow Queen Sheba hangs in there on John near Broadway. 12th Ave also features an outpost or two — the farther south you go, the more likely you are to find one.

The restaurant will rise on the back of the shuttered “social” restaurant Skelly and the Bean. Teklu said the previous tenant has left him a space that should be relatively easy to turn around quickly into his own thriving restaurant. Back in the day, the location was once home to Cassisreborn in West Seattle.

The plan currently is for Abay to be open seven days a week, 11a to 11p Monday through Thursday and 11a to 2a on weekends — though the kitchen will shutter before last call.

The children of Lost Lake (Image: Lost Lake)

The children of Lost Lake (Image: Lost Lake)

Teklu’s northern outpost is named, he said, for the great river of his home region. It’s where he used to run a restaurant and the inspiration for his new culinary home on northern Capitol Hill where Teklu hopes parking will be ample and success great drawing on residents between Capitol Hill and the University District.

“It’s the history of Abay,” Teklu said. “It’s a special place.”

Capitol Hill food+drink notes

  • CHS made its first Lost Lake visit over the weekend at a quiet hour when you share the place with a cop and a newspaper smart phone. It’s a fun addition to the Hill. Pictures here if you missed our visit in the hours before its debut last week.
  • Jason Stratton’s next big thing will be downtown:

    Today, Chef/Owner Jason Stratton announces plans to open Aragona, a contemporary Spanish restaurant that will be located in the heart of downtown Seattle.  Slated for a late summer or early fall opening, Aragona will be Stratton’s third restaurant, and his first endeavor outside of the Capitol Hill neighborhood.  Aragona will be a dining destination within walking distance to the Seattle waterfront and in the heart of the Pike Place Market and First Avenue corridor.  

  • Capitol Cider's game room... opening soon (Image: CHS)

    Capitol Cider’s game room… opening soon (Image: CHS)

    Possibly buried in all of our food and drink coverage in the past seven days — Witness is bringing craft cocktails to Broadway.

  • It’s Seattle Beer Week all over the Hill.
  • Kimchi Bistro has been dark for weeks — but it’s not closing down, CHS is told.
  • Life moves on. Mimosas with Mama, without a home following the Grill on Broadway’s shutter, is moving to the Unicorn.
  • Yes, we agree Bill’s off Broadway should take over the now-empty Broadway Grill space. Apparently not the plan.
  • You’ll see more and more activity around E Pike’s new Capitol Cider but it’s not open… yet. Here’s why.
  • What’s the weirdest thing you’ve found in a bag of coffee beans?
  • New sidewalk seating watch: 15th Ave E Ladro edition.
  • Skillet Ballard
  • Li’l Woody’s Ballard

    (Image: Li'l Woody's)

    (Image: Li’l Woody’s)

  • Where Drew Carey eats when he’s on Capital Hill:Screen shot 2013-05-14 at 7.41.10 AM
  • A more serious look at Mamnoon in light of continued violence in Syria from the Seattle Times
  • How are all those changes we wrote about at Boom Noodle working out? Next step: Just Boom.
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5 thoughts on “Capitol Hill food+drink | Named for a great river, Abay Ethiopian flows onto 10th Ave E

  1. That location on 10th and Miller seems to be where restaurants go to fail, unfortunately. But that said, I wish Mr. Teklu all the best, and hope that his place will be the exception, and that it will thrive and prosper.

  2. Amazing food and we are so glad an different affordable restaurant is in the area. I love Ethiopian food!

  3. Really delicious food and friendly service. I hope it sticks around, because it’s my new favorite Ethiopian restaurant.

  4. Man… well, I wish them luck. I just don’t think that location is good for sit-down restaurants. It’s not a destination for foodies, it mostly just attracts neighborhood people, and just having great food is not enough. I heard that the only reason The Roanoke still survives there is that they have insanely cheap rent. Can’t confirm, but I heard the Roanoke’s building owners wanted to raise the rent and the Roanoke refused (would have rather shut down) because it just doesn’t draw enough business.

    Here are the places that have been killed off in that location so far:
    – Skelly and the Bean
    – Easy Joe’s
    – Tidbit
    – Cassis
    – XO Bistro
    – The Austrian

    It’s clearly not a problem of the type of cuisine… That being said, we’ll definitely pay them a visit!

    What the Northwest end of Cap Hill (and Eastlake) REALLY need is a kid-friendly place. There is a vacuum of kid-friendly coffee shops and bars there, despite the massive amount of families in the area. It would be fantastic if someone opened up a coffee-shop/casual-restaurant/pub that had a kid’s play area like Vios cafe.

    A place like Tougo Coffee or Twirl Cafe would do insanely well in this location. Maybe Abay can at least do something like Vios Cafe with a sectioned-off kids area.

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