Meda Coffee & Kitchen is celebrating its one-year anniversary on Columbia Pike. The Ethiopian restaurant has been a hit with locals since it opened its doors in June 2022. “The community has been very supportive,” said Meron Haile, one of the owners of Meda Coffee & Kitchen. The name Meda has a special meaning for the owners of Meda Coffee & Kitchen. It’s named after Yohannes, Meron’s husband and chef’s hometown “quase meda”. Meda also means “soccer field” in Amharic, one of the official languages of Ethiopia. It also happens that ” Yohannes is a really big fan of soccer, soccer is in his blood”, said Meron.

This reflects the owners’ vision for their restaurant. They want Meda Coffee & Kitchen to be a place where people can come together to enjoy delicious food, coffee, and company. A reminder of home! “We had someone that visited us from Chicago,” said Meron. “He’s lived in the United States for over 40 years and he was so touched to find a place that reminded him of home.”

Meda started seven years ago in Van Dorn street in Alexandria. Meron and her husband partnered with Sisay, who is also a passionate entrepreneur. They knew they wanted to do something to connect with the community, and “it just happened to be food”. Both Sisay and Yohannes are passionate about cooking and import most of their spices from back home.

Meda Coffee & Kitchen is a unique Ethiopian restaurant in the area. Meda is different from other Ethiopian eateries because of its “contemporary and modern ambience” that attracts audiences from all backgrounds. The restaurant has a “live window” where fresh, grass fed-raw meat called Kurt is served, which is an Ethiopian delicacy. “The majority of the customers really appreciate this [kurt] because it is something you can find at restaurants similar to back home,” said Meron. They also have a coffee ceremony. They wanted to have the option for people to order coffee like it’s traditionally served back in Ethiopia.

Meda is a place where you can start at 9 am for breakfast, have lunch, and then enjoy the happy hour and live music in the evening. Their hours are from Monday to Friday, 9:00 am – 11:00 pm, and on the weekends, 9:00 am – 11:30 pm.

The most popular items on the menu are Shekela Tibs, Yohannes Kifto and Kurt (raw meat with spices on the side). Meron’s personal recommendation is Kitfo. “It’s a very popular food in Ethiopia,” she said. “The butter melts with Ethiopian spices.” Her second go to item is the vegetarian combo. Meda recently added a new dish to its menu that encourages guests to eat together and try a little bit of everything. The dish, called combination, is served on a mesob, a traditional Ethiopian serving basket used for storing injera, the traditional flatbread. The platter can be customized to accommodate vegetarian and meat lovers alike.

The mesob is a symbol of Ethiopian culture, and its circular shape represents the importance of sharing food with others. This is a reminder that food is meant to be enjoyed together and that the best meals are the ones shared with friends and family.

Meda Coffee & Kitchen is committed to providing quality and consistency in all their dishes. They are constantly training their staff and investing in the restaurant. They believe that customers deserve the best, and they are always striving to improve their offerings.

“The ambiance matters,” says Meron, “the key is to put the customer first”… “Yohannes and Sisay are people persons, and they are always checking on the customer’s whenever they are on the floor”

High turnover of staff has been a challenge for restaurants, but Meda is committed to providing employees with the training and support they need to be successful. They also believe that investing in their restaurant is essential to long-term succes and they are always looking for new ways to improve the customer experience.

In addition to providing delicious food and live entertainment, Meda Coffee & Kitchen has also become a place for the Ethiopian community to come together. College students from Howard University frequent the restaurant so Yohannes and Sisay decided to host a dinner to celebrate the students graduation, but the event quickly grew to include graduates from all over the DMV area, as well as community organizations. The event was a huge success, with over 30 graduates and 100 community organizations and members in attendance. The graduates were able to network with each other and with community leaders, and they all enjoyed the delicious food.

Meda Coffee & Kitchen is proud to be a part of the Ethiopian community in Arlington, Virginia. The restaurant is committed to providing a space where people can come together to celebrate their culture and heritage.

Visit Meda Coffee & Kitchen:

5037 Columbia Pike, Arlington, Virginia 22204.
Follow them on social media: @medacoffeekitchen