Desta Rises Above Sadness

Family members bind together to reopen Ethiopian Restaurant

The doro wat (a braised chicken dish), stewed lentils and tibbs (stewed beef) you'd expect at any Ethiopian restaurant are here, some with updates. The tibbs, for instance, is prepared with tilapia upon request, for Ethiopian Orthodox customers observing Lent. Kifto, typically made with raw beef and butter, are offered with tuna and flavored olive oil for the same reason. Grilled meats come out on sizzling iron plates like fajitas, but there are no tortillas. Injera, the spongy bread that marks most Ethiopian cooking, is abundant as well. The massive rounds of bread aren't used to line plates here, as they are at most Ethiopian restaurants, but it's still cut and passed out to customers in tight little rolls to be used like a utensil for pinching little bits of kifto and scooping up hunks of rich stew.

The restaurant's logo on the menus and on the wall spells out Desta, which means happiness, in Amharic. The word somehow still seems to describe the place. Despite their losses, Getachew describes a family that is filled with anticipation and a sense of purpose, while also admitting that filling in for Yared and Yenni is sometimes difficult. "They were always thinking about what to tackle next to make the restaurant better. I think that that's something that I don't have yet," she said. "But it's always a motivator."

Desta's sleek, minimalist dining room
Lori Bandi
Desta's sleek, minimalist dining room

Details

Desta

2101 Greenville Ave, Suite 105, 214-575-9004, destadallas.com. 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $$

The biggest incentive, of course, is her nephew. He'd visited Desta the weekend before the restaurant opened, as the family was preparing for their final inspection. "He was running around like usual," Getachew said, describing a toddler who perhaps best evokes the restaurant's name. He's 2 years old now — too young to remember the parents who built the business that's now meant to provide for his future.

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