Mélange chef Elias Taddesse will open his second DC restaurant, Doro Soul Food, on Thursday, November 17. The Shaw fast-casual near Howard University celebrates his upbringing in Addis Ababa and the United States, offering Ethiopian-style fried chicken and Afro-American soul food.
Taddesse trained in Michelin-starred kitchens in France and New York—but he also grew up on Popeye’s after-school sandwiches in Minneapolis. At Doro, he plans to give the chain’s style of extra-crunchy, bone-in fried chicken and sandwiches an Ethiopian spin. Taddesse dredges Amish buttermilk-brined birds in hot oil mixed with niter kibbeh (Ethiopian clarified butter) and three styles of heat: mild, hot with berbere spice, and mouth-searing thanks to mita mita, a fiery chili blend. He’ll also offer a vegan version of crispy tenders made with jackfruit, and a char-grilled, yogurt-marinated harissa chicken for platters and sandwiches.
The menu (see below), served for takeout and delivery, is designed to be wallet-friendly with fried chicken plates starting at $9 and sandwiches for $10. Creative twists on classic fry joint sides (all $5) include warm cumin-scented biscuits with berbere butter, doro wat-flavored mac n’cheese, and creamy turmeric slaw. True to any chicken joint, sauces are key—we’re excited to try Taddesse’s “doro mambo” alongside various Ethiopian hot sauces and a yogurt-dill ranch.
“People always say come to DC and check out Ethiopian restaurants. I want to be in the front, telling our stories, talking about the spices, and pushing the boundaries—it helps the cuisine itself evolve,” says Taddesse.
For the grand opening at 11 AM, the first 50 customers get a two-piece crispy chicken plate with cumin cornbread and spiced mac and cheese.
Check out the opening menu:
Doro Soul Food. 1819 Seventh St., NW.