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Ethiopian with a Toddler in Tow


Dmnkly
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Hey, all!

Apologies for the Chowhound-esque "help me pick a restaurant" question, but this is information that's tricky to garner without asking directly... so I'm asking directly (and I figured it'd be better to give this its own thread that can be promptly lost in the ether rather than polluting the busier threads).

With my sister-in-law -- who adores Ethiopian but has been living in Wausau, Wisconsin for the past year -- visiting DC on business this weekend, we're trucking on down for dinner tomorrow (Sunday) night. We'll have the little guy in tow, who is very well-behaved in restaurants, but is still one and half. While I know which Ethiopian restaurants are grabbing my attention from a food standpoint (Etete, Queen Makeda), I have no sense whatsoever of which places would be most appropriate for a little one. Naturally, I fear sleek and hip and low tables (no high chairs). And we'll be doing the early dinner thing to avoid bothering the later crowd, but still, we obviously don't want to end up in a place where it just isn't appropriate to bring him.

Are there any you guys would steer me towards or away from? We're coming down from Baltimore, so meeting not-quite-halfway in Silver Spring is also an option, but I get the sense that folks are generally more enthused by the downtown spots.

Thanks... and apologies again.

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While I know which Ethiopian restaurants are grabbing my attention from a food standpoint (Etete, Queen Makeda), I have no sense whatsoever of which places would be most appropriate for a little one. Naturally, I fear sleek and hip and low tables (no high chairs).
Queen Makeda is larger than Etete (thread) and has dining rooms spread on two floors. Etete is a narrow room with tables very close together. The Queen is better suited to give you more table space and possibly seat y'all upstairs where the tables might fill later in the evening. Fortunately, they're across the street from each other so you can choose ad lib.
Addis Ababa in Silver Spring should be fine. The food is reliable, they have high chairs, and the servers seem to genuinely like kids.
The parking is easier in Silver Spring. Addis Ababa (thread) also has seating on two floors. The street level dining room is kind of lounge-like with little tables. Upstairs there's a large screened-in deck area that is fairly kid-proof.
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.The parking is easier in Silver Spring. Addis Ababa (thread) also has seating on two floors. The street level dining room is kind of lounge-like with little tables. Upstairs there's a large screened-in deck area that is fairly kid-proof.

But under no circumstances park in the dry cleaner's lot right next to the restaurant. they will tow you in a heartbeat, even when the dry cleaners is closed.

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Any other opinions on DC options? I suspect there's no need for residents of Little Ethiopia to tow their infants out to Sweetwater Tavern; unfortunately, I'm drawing a blank on this one, especially on such short notice.

[Dmnkly, it's perfectly fine to ask a question such as this. After the fact, I'll move it to the Help Needed forum for future reference, but for now, I'd like you to get as much information as possible.]

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I starting dragging my kids to Ethipian places minutes after they were born and I have never been to an Ethiopian restaurant that didn't love us more because we had kids in tow. Etete may be a little different because they are so busy, but you should be pretty confident that you will be welcomed with open arms anywhere you go, espcially if you can get the little bugger to scarf down a fistful of injira or two.

I would, by the way, do downstairs at Makeda or the patio at Dukem.

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I don't see why Queen Makeda, or Dukem would be inappropriate with a toddler, just responding to the OP's suggestion that Silver Spring options would be welcome. I'd steer clear of Etete because it is tiny and there might be a wait.

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Thanks... and like I say, I don't want to turn this place into Chowhound, where nine out of ten questions are specific "help me pick a restaurant" requests, but I appreciate the help.

He's extremely good in restaurants, he just comes along with age appropriate babbling (not a screamer, or anything), and he eats more foods than my wife does (including the spicy), so I just wanted to make sure a little one wouldn't be totally out of place. I was leaning Queen Makeda anyway, so that sounds great.

Thanks guys... greatly appreciated :-)

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Just wanted to check back in with thanks again, and a quick report.

We had a great meal at Queen Makeda. Definitely kicked the pine tar out of the Chicago stalwarts (not that Chicago is known for its Ethiopian). I've always enjoyed Ethiopian, but couldn't get excited about it previously. I've always suspected it could be much better than what I'd tried. Glad to see that hunch finally confirmed, and I look forward to trying some of the other spots. My sister-in-law, who adores Ethiopian and has had much of it, thought it was among the best she's had, if not quite a personal pinnacle.

At any rate, no high chairs was an ominous sign, but we ended up having the entire second floor to ourselves, so it really couldn't have worked out any better. The little guy usually eats everything, but while he seemed to enjoy his first few bites, I think the sneaky spice on the tibs caught up with him, and after that he was even rejecting goldfish. So we'll have to wait until next time to properly introduce him :-)

Thanks again, all... muchly appreciated.

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