Atlanta's Feedel Serves Delicious Ethiopian Favorites
The seeds for Feedel were planted in 2018 when Tamar Telahun and her older brother Simon Gebru—former owners of the popular Mediterranean restaurant Food Therapy—began thinking about their next venture.
“My mind kept going back to the meals that my mother would cook for us and our other siblings,” Tamar recalls. “She loved to cook, and she made sure that she fed all six of us kids good food every single day. In fact, she loved to feed everyone, and I wanted to honor that legacy and share her spirit and her recipes with the world.”
And so, the siblings opened Feedel (pronounced “feed-ell”) on September 3, 2018, as a celebration of the food and culture of their Ethiopian and Eritrean heritage.
“Simon and I were born and raised in Ethiopia, and we wanted to represent that heritage as well as that of our parents, who came from Eritrea. Everyone is always saying things like, ‘It feels like we’re at your mom’s house, it feels like we’re having a home-cooked meal,’ which is exactly what we’re striving for.”
Among the more popular menu offerings are specialties like Sagla’s spris, a plate of tender beef, lamb, chicken, or salmon stripped and sauteed in a spicy red berbere sauce (which can also be ordered mild), and the chef’s special salmon, baked and sauteed in a variety of herbs and spices with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and jalapenos.
One surprising attraction is the branzino, a whole grilled, lightly fried fish prepared with a homemade traditional seasoning with garlic, onions, jalapeno, tomatoes, and rosemary. “The response has been absolutely ridiculous,” Tamar says. “We brought it in during Lent, and our customers were like, ‘Do not take this off the menu, ever,” she laughs. “So, we’re keeping it on the menu as long as the market allows.”
Those items are complemented by a selection of beverages including Eritrean/Ethiopian coffee, habesha kemem shai (traditional tea), Ethiopian beer and wine, and domestic teas, coffees, beer, wine, and hand-crafted cocktails.
The restaurant itself, with modern touches like tasteful banquet seating, reflects the siblings’ desire to create an inviting, unassuming space that complements the surrounding neighborhood, as well as to “tell our own story” about their cuisine and how it can be served, presented and enjoyed.
“Traditionally, we eat everything on one big plate, which we do offer,” Tamar says. “But we don’t believe it has to be eaten that way. People can order individual plates, as well—in the end, it’s the taste of the food that matters.”
Tamar, an interior designer, decorated the restaurant with artwork that exposes guests to different images of Ethiopian and Eritrean culture than they might expect.
“I like representing people that don’t necessarily fit the images people may have about what Ethiopians or Eritreans look like,” she says. “People are used to seeing narrow noses, high cheekbones, and thinner features, so I chose people who look different, and images of tribes that aren’t often talked about. It’s a way of showing people that there’s so much more to both of these cultures than you typically see.”
That, she says, is her hope for Feedel—that people come away not only satisfied by a wonderful meal but perhaps having learned a little something, as well.
“Feedel means ‘alphabet’ in both Ethiopian and Eritrean—it’s the same word for both,” she says. “So, the name feels like the perfect way to celebrate these cuisines and the cultures that inform them.”