Askale Cafe, a set on Flickr.
Many Brooklanders are eagerly awaiting the opening of Askale Cafe, Brookland’s newest restaurant. Lucky for us, we were treated to a sneak peek of what’s to come, and let me tell ya, it was delicious! Owners and husband and wife duo, Asratie Teferra and Askale Shiferaw were so kind to welcome us and share their amazing Ethiopian cuisine. We started with a cup of Harrar coffee, made from beans grown in the Eastern highlands of Ethiopia. It was dark and strong, yet smooth and rich.
One of the things we have so enjoyed about getting to know Askale and Asratie is their enthusiasm for sharing their culture. Before we dove in, they gave us an explanation of not only what we were eating, but how it ties into Ethiopian culture and traditions. For our meal we had smashed yellow split peas – very yummy with just a hint of sweetness, my favorite was the chicken curry with rice, it had the perfect level of spiciness, red lentils seasoned with garlic and ginger, and brown whole lentils, with a touch of fresh herbs that brightened this hearty dish. All this was scooped up with lots of yummy, tender, gluten-free injera. They also offered a crisp salad that had a light lemon vinaigrette, a perfect side dish. One of the driving themes of the restaurant is healthy eating, so they plan on serving a lot of vegetarian dishes and vegetables like kale and cabbage.
Askale and Asratie have been working really long hours to get the place ready. For example, after hearing the community feedback on disposable plates and cutlery, they immediately changed their plan and ordered a dishwasher, plates and silverware. Other elements are starting to fall into place, new furniture has been ordered and they are working on getting free wi-fi set up for patrons. They are eager to get going, so the soft opening will be this Saturday, June 15th, opening their doors at 9am. The grand opening date and details will be announced soon.
For now, the plan is to offer casual breakfast, lunch and dinner food service. They have bigger plans though, including traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies for the community, applying for outdoor seating and renewing the beer and wine liquor license that lapsed under the previous owner. I assured them that the Brookland community will stand behind them as they get situated and improve over time. Askale Cafe is located at 3629 12th St. NE (between Otis and Newton St.). Website coming soon. Until they receive their wine and beer license, their opening hours will be:
Monday: 7am to 7pm
Wed to Sat: 7am to 7pm
Sun: 10am to 6pm
The Ethiopian Coffee ceremony will be scheduled on Sunday afternoons after the Grand Opening.