Bole Ethiopian Cuisine, a Midway restaurant that was destroyed in May during the protests after George Floyd’s death, has found a new home in St. Paul’s Como neighborhood.
Business consultant Lelna Desta said owners Rekik Meratsion and Solomon Hailie have purchased the building that most recently housed Foxtrot Burger Spot (prior to that it was Delicata Pizza and prior to that, Java Train) and are planning to open sometime in mid-February.
The University Avenue restaurant, which had just started work on a venture next door called Bole Express, where they were going to concentrate on takeout Ethiopian options, was completely leveled in the fires. Desta, who had been working with the pair for about two years, helping with their business strategy, started a GoFundMe page that raised $154,335 in just a few days. That money helped Hailie and Meratsion find a new, permanent home.
“We’ve always said it’s not about the food, but the community we’ve built around that space,” Desta said. “It’s been a safe spot, with comfort food, for people to get away from everything and connect with other people. We knew we had a little more than a restaurant, but seeing the community make that come alive was really special. People giving us encouragement, saying ‘You got this, keep going’ made it very hard to sit still.”
The menu at the new space, which will seat about 80 indoors and another 50 on the patio (post-pandemic, of course), will offer many of the previous favorites, but Desta said they’re working on adding some new items, too.
Bole Ethiopian Cuisine: 1341 Pascal St., St. Paul; boleethiopiancuisine.com