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Lucy Ethiopian Cuisine and Variety Store

There has been a buzz going around this past week that Buffalo is finally going to get an Ethiopian Restaurant. A sign had gone up in a window on Amherst Street announcing the news. That’s when I started getting phone calls and emails asking if it was ‘my guy‘ who had finally found a location. As much as I wanted it to be Wass (my guy), it was not, but nonetheless I was excited to learn that Buffalo would soon have Ethiopian food. 
After digging around, I learned that the operators of Lucy Ethiopian Cuisine and Variety Store also had a restaurant in Toronto. Buffalo will be the owners’ second location. I spoke to co-owner Naima Tesfu who told me that the restaurant would have limited sit-down, mainly because she and her husband were looking to test the market to see how people would respond to a cuisine that they were relatively unfamiliar with. “We’ve been looking into opening a restaurant in Buffalo for three years,” Naima told me. “We feel that it’s time. We are also very happy with Amherst Street and like that it’s become so diverse. We did a lot of research, and I have some family here as well. I recently moved to Buffalo to be closer to them and to be near the restaurant.”
Hopefully it won’t be long before Lucy Ethiopian opens. At this point Naima tells me that it’s just a matter of waiting for a license, and that should be any day. Then she and her husband can get down to business serving injera (buckwheat pancake) and myriad delicious fixings that you scoop with your hands (no forks or knives). Once open, Lucy Ethiopian will be hosting free traditional coffee ceremonies on Fridays. Personally, I can’t wait. This is very exciting news for Amherst Street and Buffalo. 
Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant and Variety Store
388 Amherst Street – Buffalo NY

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at The Hotel @ The Lafayette, and the Madd Tiki Winter Luau. Other projects: Navigetter.

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  • Black Rock Lifer

    Another welcome addition to Black Rock and the growing Amherst Street business district. The neighborhood is continuing to grow and attract investment, we offer lower rents, great neighbors, and an outstanding stock of older buildings ripe for restoration or reuse.

  • AKBuffalo

    I like that Amherst Street is getting more attention and development.
    I also like that this is a Toronto-based operation opening a second location in Buffalo. I used to get annoyed by over-zealous Canadians coming into Buffalo in droves, but now I actually enjoy that they appreciate Buffalo and understand its value. And that they’re starting to invest in the city. I hope this place succeeds and we see more investment from across the border.

  • MidtownMike

    The custom is not to scoop up food with your hands. Rather, you use a piece of the injera to grasp the food and eat it like a burrito.
    If you like REALLY spicy food, Ethiopian is the way to go.

  • miaLA

    The way I was taught to enjoy this cuisine, was to use the injera to scoop, not wrap.. Burrito making at the table is frowned upon, unless its at Cantina Loco..

  • MidtownMike

    Analogies are almost always flawed. I did not mean to imply one actually “wrapped” the injera, only that one eats the food surrounded by the bread.

  • Captain Picard

    Agreed. Amherst Street is looking great, and I’ve been spending more time there. It’s amazing how much different it looks from five years ago.

  • grad94

    mega thumbs up, little victory dance, unrestrained enthusiasm, hot diggity!
    did i mention how excited i am?

  • Tim

    On a somewhat related note, I was talking to a guy at a bar who was spouting off all the people he knew and that his friend was a billionaire. (yawn). I was told this out of town billionaire bought the $1,750,000 penthouse at Avant. I thought he was blowing hot air but lo and behold I went on the website and it looks like its no longer available. I also got a free shot out of the convo ; )

  • Frankenberry

    The funny thing is that I posted on this sight when they were looking for a place for Wass to open and recommended this location. Odd that another Ethiopian place is moving in. Can’t wait until their open.

  • jtrzewitcowski

    Anyone ever catch Andrew Zimmern’s last show on Ethiopian food? Ethiopilicious is a catch phrase you will never hear outside of this sentence. I think a boiled pot of Elmer’s glue would be a step above their finest cuisine. How come nobody can open 1. A good Mexican restaurant in this town, Cantina is another very average foray. 2. when will someone open up a legit shawarma spot? Instead we get Ethiopian, Inuit, Congolese…

  • laldm

    If you’re unfamiliar with Ethiopian, make sure you try it before you judge. I find it not to be particularly spicy unlike the commenter above stated. And it is extremely vegetarian-friendly as well, since they make a lot of use of grains like buckwheat and chickpeas. As a devout meatatarian, I find that I can eat a full meal with no meat in it at an Ethiopian restaurant and be quite full and not miss meat at all. It is a little exotic to our tastes, but not so much that an American won’t understand and enjoy it. I’ve had a few cuisines that I would say would be too crazy for many Americans – authentic Northern Thai, for example, or Nigerian – but Ethiopian is not one of them.

  • Rand503

    In Washington, Ethiopian restaurants are all over the place. We have tons of them, and they were popular when I first moved there in the late 1980s.
    The cuisine is particularly popular with groups of people on a budget, because you get a ton of food, and a wide variety. You all sit around the platter and eat with your hands, sampling whatever you like. Some things are spicy, but certainly not all, and there is a great variety of vegetarian dishes that are just terrific. Best of all, once you split the check, you find that it hardly came to anything at all.
    I don’t know why it has taken so long for Buffalo to get this cuisine, but the city deserves at least several.

  • bdgemble

    I am so excited to hear about Lucy! What a wonderful potential addition to Buffalo’s culinary scene. I so miss injera and wonderful Ethiopian feasts. Another reason to bike up to Amherst Street!

  • buffloonitick

    Inuit cuisine gets my ‘seal’ of approval…

  • Dan

    Awesome to have a new form of ethnic cuisine in Buffalo. Maybe this will entice other restaurants serving cuisine that is unique to the area to the neighborhood.

  • bgdileo

    Just went there last night and it was fantastic! The food was delicious and the owners were so friendly! There are only four tables but you can call ahead and reserve. You can also call for take-out. Their phone number is 877-5829 (I think). We had the veggie combo, kitfo, and a lamb dish and everything was delicious. It helps to order dishes everyone will like and share because they came out of the (tiny!) kitchen one at a time. They are giving away free sambusa (delicious meat pastry) and coffee this whole weekend!

  • moonqueen

    I am SO excited for this. I tried Ethiopian food at the Juneteenth festival in Pittsburgh 7 years ago and I’ve never got the delicious taste out of my mind. AND it’s in my ‘hood and in walking distance from my house (about a mile). Yay!!!!! I was sad to see the Puerto Rican place here go out so fast, especially after the building had sat vacant nearly a decade before that, but this is a VERY welcome replacement. I’m happy to see the street is getting new restaurants & businesses that cater to more income levels.

  • warrenavenue

    Menu anyone????
    I’ve been tempted to try Ethiopian food since I was in Chicago last year but don’t really know what to order…Any suggestions….

  • moonqueen

    I tried it and it is SO good. They don’t have a menu up anywhere but you can stop in and get a paper copy. They have many lamb and beef dishes, but all serve fish, chicken and a half dozen or more vegetarian options. I had the vegetarian platter (4 items plus a side of the cabbage/carrots they give with most dishes). It was excellent – spicy lentils, yellow peas, collard greens and potatoes with carrots, all on injera (think a cross between flat bread and a pancake). Just to warn you, since my date their was surprised, they don’t use utensils. You scoop everything up with the injera.

  • caffeine

    I went to an Ethiopian place in New York and Washington and the memory was very pleasant so when I heard there is a place in Buffalo I headed there ASAP with my relatives known for their adventurous palates ( 70 + mother in law and a 7 year old son.) I myself really went for the coffee which I heard is prepared a in traditional way! The meal was spectacular and eating with hands for a 7 year old was a riot! Home made cheese and variety of lentil and lamb dished and freshly cut tomatoes! It took a while to get the food so do not go if you are in a rush but the flavors are well worth the wait! I made sure I pre-ordered the coffee early because if that was true that they made it in a traditional way …they roast it before serving! Women in Ethiopia are traditionally responsible for preparing the coffee and sure enough the lady run out of the kitchen with a pan full of roasting/ steaming coffee beans to let us smell the aroma. At first I was a bit skeptical being a coffee snob but I went with the flow. The presentation of pouring the coffee from a black clay coffee pot “jabena’ into divine porcelain cups made my day. My 7 year old had a cup too and he loved it! Overall great experience for a very decent price. I will be back.