Zemams Ethiopian Cuisine: an owner’s pursuit of happiness

Zemams Ethiopian Cuisine (Photo: Max Efrein)
Zemams Ethiopian Cuisine (Photo: Max Efrein)

By Max Efrein

Amanuel Gebremariam casually paces his restaurant, Zemams Ethiopian Cuisine, taking orders, checking up on customers, and bringing out food. Manager, cook, waiter, busser, he does it all.

I want to monitor everything, Gebremariam said.

Gebremariam came to the U.S. as a refugee more than 30 years from from Eritrea, an East African country just north of Ethiopia. After receiving an education first at the University of Maryland to study English as a second language and then the University of Arizona for a business degree, he worked a number of respectable jobs before concluding he wasn’t happy with what he was doing and decided to take a different path: the restaurant business.

My mother showed me how to cook, and I named the restaurant after my mom,Gebremariam said.

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