Learn Ethiopian Cuisine – New Zemans Opens Friday!

Zemans, 119 E Speedway Blvd.
Zemans, 119 E Speedway Blvd.

Zemans Ethiopian Cusine (Amanuel Gebremarian) will be opening its new restaurant at 119 E Speedway in Central Tucson this Friday, July 19th. The property was purchased for $280,000 ($180 PSF) from Cuong & Susan Nguyen, for the 1,552 sq. ft. building (built 1925) on a .17 acre lot.  It was most recently used for a Bistro. Zemans’ other restaurant is at 2731 E Broadway Blvd. in Central Tucson; this will be Zemans second location in Tucson.

For those of you who are still intimidated by the thought of eating with your bare hands, here’s everything you need to know in a brief lesson. When you enter an Ethiopian restaurant, you’ll find standard tables and chairs. The service is always friendly and servers eager to answer any questions that may come to mind on the menu or the culture.  Leave all your North American preconceived notions about eating out at home.

What’s on the menu? You’ll find plenty of vegetarian options to choose from but also beef, lamb, chicken, and fish at the new Zemans’ on Speedway. Food is served on platters lined with injera, a traditional Ethiopian bread made with teff flour. Injera looks like a big pancake the size of a pizza. It’s essentially a large sourdough crepe. Your food will be served in a ring of mounds on the injera like a delicious, beautiful, and fun painter’s palette!

By now you’ve realized, there’s no silverware, no forks or knives on the table. As with many parts of the world, its important to know you typically would eat with your right hand, since the left is reserved for cleansing your body– which by the way you did do, right? Go wash those hands! Thank goodness all left-handed people are ambidextrous, otherwise they might risk horrified looks from others around them.

Ethiopian cooking uses a lot of berbere, which is a ground orange-red powder of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima and fenugreek, it has an interesting, deep, smoky flavor that will delight you. This is what gives Ethiopian food its distinct flavors. Not all Ethiopian food is spicy, though jalapeno peppers have been known to make an appearance.

Try taking your coffee with sugar and no milk, Ethiopian coffee is strong and one of the special highlights of Ethiopian dining, but you can also order regular.  Desserts are not common after dinner, however, sweet lovers may find a selection of ice cream at Zemans.

Ready to practice your newfound knowledge? Then go forth and eat Ethiopian this weekend!

Zemans’ new location will open this Friday, July 19th and be open from 10:00 A.M. to 9:30 P.M., Tuesday thru Sunday going forward. Unlike its other restaurant, this second location will also have a bar license.

Lynn Hansen of The Negotiators Realty in Tucson represented the seller and Jill Rich of Long Realty in Tucson represented the buyer in the transaction.

Gebremariam at Zemans can be reached at (520) 323-9928. Hansen can be contacted at (520) 219-0903 and Rich is at (520) 349-0174.

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