Dining in Ethiopia is characterized by the ritual of breaking "injera" and sharing food on
a common plate, signifying the bonds of loyalty and friendship. Injera is a flat bread made
of teff, a fine grain unique to Ethiopia. The traditional way of eating is with your hands.
Injera is placed on a common plate and topped with a variety of meat and vegetable dishes.
A small portion of injera is torn off and wrapped around a mouthful of the selected dish.
Emanu, the restaurant’s namesake, was born in the countryside of Eritrea. Emanu learned to
cook in school when she was 18 years old and has loved cooking ever since. She and her husband,
Yhdego, moved to the U.S. in 1992. She never dreamed of opening her own restaurant, but while
working at a Middle Eastern Restaurant in Pleasant Ridge, an opportunity came up for her to take
over. After thinking about it for a couple months, she decided to give it a try. The name
changed to East African Restaurant in 2001 and Emanu became the Chef. For the next six years,
East African Restaurant developed a following of customers who love Emanu’s cooking and warm,
friendly service. Emanu is excited to have re-opened the restaurant under the new name, Emanu,
just one block from the old restaurant.
Emanu has been married to Yhdego for 45 years, has two grown sons and two grandsons.
When she is not cooking, you can find her exercising at the gym or traveling to Ethiopia
to visit family and friends.
Yhdego Beyene, Emanu’s husband, worked for Ethiopian Airlines for over 20 years before
retiring and moving to the U.S. with his wife in 1992. Yhdego handles many of the
operational duties such as managing inventory and making sure they have the finest
ingredients for their customers.
Yhdego speaks four languages: Amharic, Tigrinya, Italian and English. In his spare
time, you can find him playing cards and hanging out with family and friends.
Samuel “Sammy” Yhdego
Sammy Yhdego was born in Ethiopia and raised in Eritrea. He speaks three languages:
Amharic, Tigrinya and English. Sammy moved to the U.S. in 1987 where he attended
school in Wisconsin. He went on to earn a college degree in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Sammy worked for an aerospace company for 10 years before joining his parents in
opening East Africa Restaurant in 2001.
Sammy lives in Cincinnati with his wife and son. When not at Emanu Restaurant,
Sammy enjoys watching movies and spending time with his family.