New Ethiopian Restaurant Encourages Finger Food

By: Auburn Hutton Email
By: Auburn Hutton Email

If you like eating with your hands, there's a new restaurant in town that actually encourages it! "Zagol" opened for business in October, becoming the first ever Ethiopian restaurant in Reno...and bringing a whole new culture to the Truckee Meadows. The owners waited over 25 years to make the restaurant a reality.

When you walk into Zagol, you won't find any silverware...only napkins...and plenty of confusion from customers.

"I thought it was pretty exotic and kind of surprising for Reno," said Reno resident, Gabby Gerardo.

"It was so different. I didn't know when I first came in that you eat with your hands and they bring this big plate of food and say dig in!" added Zagol regular Ben Jesch.

Co-owner Shita Yenemh says eating with your hands is perfectly acceptable at Zagol.

She serves a sponge-like bread called "injera" that is used to soak up the main courses...anything from spicy lamb and beef to a variety of different vegetables. Yenemh says sharing the foods from her home country has been a dream for most of her life.

"This was my dream since I was a little girl and I wanted to open it since I came to the U.S. 26 years ago. It just has been a family matter or not finding the right place or not finding the money."

Yenemh says her life in Ethiopia was trying. She lived through a revolution, and even spent time in prison for political reasons. When she had an opportunity to move to Reno, she took it. She says she's now living the American dream, but more importantly, her dream.

"I love it because people come in and ask questions. What is this? How do you eat this? What kind of flower is this? I just love it."

Customers admit they're a little taken aback by the food at first glance, but once they try it, they just keep coming back. They say it's about time Reno added a new type of cuisine to it's menu, especially one you can eat with your hands.

"Very spicy. Very succulent. Very Yummy. Very Happy."

For more information about the new restaurant, go to www.zagolofreno.com.


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