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Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant Closes After Many Years of Success on George Street

After Nearly Two Decades in Downtown, New Brunswick Restaurant Evicted
Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant
An eviction notice is posted on the door of Makeda Ethiopian Restaurant. Charlie Kratovil

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ--Makeda, a popular Ethiopian restaurant located in the heart of downtown New Brunswick since 1996, has closed its doors, which now display an eviction notice.

As of yet, the restaurant’s owner has not given a reason for the closure.  The unique establishment first opened at 335 George Street in 1996, and eventually re-located across the street to 338 George Street.

Known for its authentic Ethiopian cuisine, eclectic musical performances and events, Makeda was a hit with New Brunswick patrons. Local residents, college students, workers, and visitors to the city often left positive reviews online.

“This place has been consistent throughout the years," reads one review. "You always know that you're going to have a good meal and you will leave with your belly full. What’s even better is that they have live jazz on Thursdays at 8pm, so you can grab dinner in the back and then make your way over to the bar area and enjoy some great music."

In recent years, what was once an art gallery connected to the restaurant was subdivided off and rented to a health food store.

On December 15, the Makeda Facebook page, Twitter, and voicemail were updated with the same ominous message: “Makeda is closed until further notice. No other information is available.”

According to the Facebook page, the restaurant hosted an event as recent as December 11 as a part of the the New Brunswick Jazz Project, which frequently hosted events in the location.

The three leaders of the jazz project wrote some kind words on the Facebook page.

"Thank you to Makeda New Brunswick - Ethiopian Restaurant for believing in us from day one. Your support, helped get us to where we are today," reads the statement from Jimmy Lenihan, Virginia DeBerry Donna Grant, and Michael Tublin.

"We have made so many friends, shared so much laughter and joy, ate the best food, heard the most incredible music, and have countless memories to last a lifetime... You will forever be in our hearts."

Many customers are also voicing their disappointment about the closure and are hopeful that this won’t be the end of of the restaurant.

“We are so sad to hear [Makeda] is closed. It was our favorite restaurant in the area and the best Ethiopian restaurant anywhere," said one reviewer on the website Yelp.  "I hope the owners find a way to reopen in New Brunswick or find another location.”

"No other comparable Ethiopian restaurants in the area... Very sad to see it go," wrote another reviewer.