Four years ago at this time, Safari D.C., then considered the District’s only restaurant specializing in Kenyan cuisine, was riding high on the possibility that a man from the African country would soon take residence in the White House. I was there on Inauguration Day when Barack Obama was officially sworn in as the nation’s 44th president. The pride was palpable at Safari D.C.
Then the place on Georgia Avenue NW abruptly closed in 2010.
While nothing will recapture the optimism of 2008, when hope and change were on the minds of many Washingtonians, one thing will soon be revived from those heady times: Safari DC is reopening in the same space at 4306 Georgia Ave. NW. Sort of.
Details are still sketchy at this time since manager Mame Wendmage told All We Can Eat that the owners of the forthcoming Safari D.C. Lounge and Restaurant are out of town. But Wendmage says the business is family owned, the same people behind the Fab Lounge on Connecticut Avenue NW. She didn’t know their full names.
Wendmage did say, however, that the new Safari D.C. will not restrict itself to Kenyan cuisine. Instead it will be more pan-African, with an emphasis on West and East African dishes.
The new-look Safari D.C. will not just be a lounge and restaurant, the manager says. It will offer a separate carryout, delivery and catering business (apparently called Addis). The menu posted on the windows will be available for all customers, no matter if they eat in, carryout or want a catered event, Wendmage says.
A menu definitely leans Ethiopian with dishes such as beef tibs, alicha fitfit and doro wat. But Wendmage says the final menu may include some American dishes such as burgers and steaks.
The lounge is still waiting on its full liquor license, but the manager expects Safari D.C. to open Dec. 1. Regulars of the old place should recognize the new one right away.
“It’s almost the same” inside, the manager says.