Hawi Ethiopian Cuisine had its official ribbon cutting ceremony Friday, with Mayor Svante Myrick and the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Nations in attendance.
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Ambassador Tekeda Alemu traveled all the way from New York City to be a part of the ceremony. Citra Mohammed, restaurant owner and Ethiopia-native, said the restaurant invited Alemu to attend.
“It’s the first Ethiopian restaurant [in Ithaca]; we thought it would be good to have someone who represents the entire Ethiopian community, and just for him to introduce himself to Ithaca as well.”
Mayor Myrick posted about the event on his Facebook page with pictures of the two officials cutting the ribbon together.
“That’s me next to the Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Nations,” the post said. “He came all the way to Ithaca just to help us welcome another new business to Downtown Ithaca — Hawi Ethiopian Cuisine!”
Mohammed said she was excited to have both the mayor and the ambassador at her restaurant.
“They were here to support us and our presence in Ithaca,” she said.
Mohammed said although they were stressed out about the event at first, it went better than they expected. She said about 50 people were present for the ceremony.
After the ribbon cutting, a buffet was served, followed by a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
The restaurant has been open since March 11, and Mohammed said business is doing well and the community has been very supportive.
See The Ithaca Voice’s previous reporting on Hawi Ethiopian Cuisine: