Share, , , Google Plus, Reddit, Pinterest, StumbleUpon


Posted in:

The Lucy legacy… no, not that one!

Lucy Ethiopian has opened on Amherst Street, giving Buffalo its first official Ethiopian Restaurant. I was bummed that I could not make it to the restaurant’s opening night mainly because the advent marked a big occasion for many of us who have been anticipating landing such an unusual cuisine. All the same, I was finally able to stop in to place a to-go order and was happy when I was welcomed by friendly owners, a bright and cheery atmosphere, and more seating than I imagined. Owners Naima and Abba (photo – see back story), were working in the kitchen… and at the counter… and at the tables. A true small business. They told me that business has been brisk considering it was still opening week, and as I talked to them a number of people stopped in to place and pick up orders. It was good to see that there were plenty of people who appeared to be fairly keen on the idea of Ethiopian fare in Black Rock.

As much as I wanted to sit down to eat, I was in a hurry so I ordered the veggie combo to go. The dish contained three varieties of lentils and split peas as well as three vegetables – greens, cabbage and green beans. The lentils each had their own flavor profiles – one distinct from the next. The refreshing nature of this food is that though the spices may excite, they are not overwhelming. For me the food is deeply satisfying. The injera, spongy, soft and a bit sour, makes the meal, and ultimately satisfies your hunger without feeling overly stuffed. 
While I was mostly familiar with the food, I was especially taken with some sort of vegetarian lentil-filled puff triangles that Naima tossed into my bag. They turned out to be a treat called sambusa, which is basically a fried pastry dough wrapped around filling (normally filled with meat). I searched my fridge for something to dip them in (how American of me), and came up with a Penang peanut sauce. They combo was terrific. Next time I’m planning on ordering the shiro stew (peas) and the misir wat (lentils), which are my two favorites that were included in the veggie combo. 
As with many ethnic restaurants in Buffalo I was mildly disappointed to find that there was no authentic juice selection… just soda pops. I hope that in the future Lucy can provide some natural drinks along the lines of SUFF (made from sunflower seed, TELBA (made from flax seed) and/or BESSO (made from barley). Or even a mixture of the three – a drink called 3D that contains agave. There are some delicious layered fruit blends such as avocado and mango that I bet would be popular in the summertime. I also hope to see the Styrofoam take-out containers replaced with something more earth-friendly – an issue that is still pervasive in way too many Buffalo restaurants.
If you’re lovin’ the idea of having an Ethiopian restaurant in town, but you’re pondering why on earth it’s called Lucy, you may find the following story interesting. It’s the story behind the name:
There’s a new Lucy in town… so who was the old one?
Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant and Variety Store
388 Amherst Street – Buffalo NY
Hours are: Mon-Sat 7am to 10pm | Sun 11am to 10pm

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.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

View All Articles by queenseyes
Hide Comments
Show Comments
  • elmdog

    Had Ethiopian once before in Denmark…liked it alot, very spicy and simple….Good luck

  • apocalypsekirk

    Although these restaurateurs are from Toronto, I think their down-to-earth attitude and generosity are more suited for the City of Good Neighbors.
    When my girlfriend and I stopped in to pick up an order for the first time this past weekend, their credit card machine wasn’t up and running yet. I offered to run to an ATM real quick to grab cash. Naima insisted that it was okay, she’d make a note, and to just pay next time we stopped in. I reluctantly agreed, almost in shock that in this day and age a restaurant owner would make such a gesture.
    In the end, I was able to slip away real quick and grab the money while the food was cooking. That one act of kindness–offering to defer my payment to provide me with a warm meal–has made me a lifelong customer. I hope they never close their doors in Buffalo. Also, the fact that the shiro stew, fosolia, and injera were amazing doesn’t hurt matters.

  • KeepItSimple

    Life is good! We tried to go to the Ethiopian restaurant in Hamilton, mentioned in a prior BR article, ( “We Want Wass” ) but it was inexplicably closed. . .after we had emailed to confirm the hours. (Server didn’t show up that day.) Bummer, since it was at least a 1/2 hour detour. So, no more trips to Hamilton necessary!

  • NorthBuf

    Definite lack of booths. 3.5 stars.
    -Janice Okun.
    But seriously, I’m totally going to check this place out soon. Variety is the spice of life, or something like that

  • grad94

    awesome. a wish come true.

  • Dan

    The bread was spongy. 3.5 stars.
    -Janice Okun

  • Dan

    A welcome arrival on Buffalo’s dining scene. Going to have to check it out the next time I’m back home.

  • Black Rock Lifer

    Welcome to Black Rock, we are happy to add another new business, the good neighbors here will certainly support Lucy’s, Good Luck.

  • radiozammy

    @queeneyes… I am surprised that you might not have tried the SAMOSA -an indian snack…from what it looks like, Sambusa and samosa are the same family…
    …. in other news, very excited about lucys.. will be trying out this one this friday for lunch.. Had ethopian before in DC… still relish the taste…

  • LightoftheMoon

    Dan I’m not sure if that was a serious comment or not, but for anyone interested in trying it Ethiopian bread is supposed to be spongy. It’s traditionally made with a fermentation process so it’s airy & bubbly, and also has a slightly sour taste. It’s a bit different but our whole party liked it after getting used to the texture. It’s also used as a utensil–you just tear off a piece of bread & use it to pick up the food.