Thank You for Your Stories!

We have many, many stories of unforgettable moments with our wonderful Cafe Selam customers over the years. Here are a few you have sent us:

Once I enjoyed my first Ethiopian eating experience back in 2004, I began searching and trying all the Ethiopian restaurants I could find until coming upon Abe’s Cafe Salem. You could smell her spices a block away. My search for great Ethiopian ended that day, and even though I moved to Florida in 2012—every time I visit Seattle, I make it a point to stop in to see Abe and enjoy her vegetarian platter. She knows her spices! What a sweetheart and such a gift to the community! Keep it up!


I love Cafe Selam! Definitely one of my favorite spots of Ethiopian in Seattle! My daughter is adopted from Ethiopia, and even though it’s been almost 20 years since she lived there, she still loves her Ethiopian food, and is soooo content when we visit Cafe Selam. Fabulous food, and a very welcoming environment! Ameseginalehu, Cafe Selam!

Jill, adoptive Mom to an Ethiopian beauty

We moved to the CD in 2004 and found Cafe Selam shortly after our move. We had never had Ethiopian food before. It was absolutely magical! We would visit Abe 3-4 times a week – most days, Abe would walk into the dining area with pots of food to refill our veggie combo plates. We moved away from the CD and so it’s harder to get to there. But we’ve taken our 4yo who now also loved Ethiopian food. We will be visiting tonight! Love to Abe and her family and staff.

Donald and Jim

This is my favorite restaurant! I’ve been coming here for 7 years. Once in a while I’ll drive the 1½ hours (+ with traffic) to eat there. ❤


I’m 2009 while living in the CD, Cafe Selam became me and my boyfriend’s favorite restaurant in Seattle. We ate many meals and watched many soccer games there. In 2013, while visiting from Denver where we lived for a while before returning to Seattle in 2015, we chose Cafe Selam as the place we wanted to exchange our wedding/engagement rings which we had purchased in Istanbul. It was perfect and that’s just how much we love Cafe Selam! Here’s to another 20 years and more!!!


My husband and I have been coming here for years. I remember when we first found it. Our old favorite Ethiopian restaurant had closed and we were heartbroken. We tried many other places but couldn’t find “our” place. Then we found Cafe Selam. Since then, life has been great. We look forward to our weekly meal all the time! It brings us so much happiness. The atmosphere, the tea, the kind staff. It feels like family. We don’t know what we’d do without Cafe Selam. It holds a special place in our hearts.


So distinguished and food with perfection. Congratulations on your dedication and professionalism. Glad and proud to be your customer and get to know you, Abebu.

እጅሽ ይባረክ ጤናና እድሜውን ያድልሽ አሜን🙏


My eldest daughter was home visiting. I had taken both my daughters many times to various Ethiopian restaurants. My daughter was having a craving for Ethiopian and hadn’t had any for a while. The problem was it was rather late in the evening and the only Ethiopian open was Cafe Selam. We ordered a vegetable combo and kitfo and hopped in the car. The food was fantastic and quickly prepared for us. I only wish those late hours were still available.


It was all by chance.

I’m on the way to a party in Madrona, walking through the CD. A sign at a modest looking Ethiopian restaurant – “Open Late Night to 11”? Hmm. Haven’t seen that before!

I’m with a friend a month later. It’s about 9:30 and we’re both real hungry.

“Hey, there’s some Ethiopian place open until 11. Let’s check it out.”

We’re in by 9:45 PM, taking our time. No other customers. And we’re talking a whole lot of nonsense; not even thinking about our order. There’s just one woman in here. Friendly, not rushing us.

We finally order. The food comes. It is — it’s amazing. I mean, incredible. I have another Ethiopian place I eat at. That’s over. This is my place.

Transported to a culinary world neither of us knew existed, we are just talking and talking and talking. It’s 10:45. We must experience this place until closing time.

Finally this very patient master chef approaches us with the bill. I pull out my credit card.

“Oh sorry sorry, we don’t take cards.”

OK. Shoot.

I check my wallet. $2.00. My friend, $1.00. I feel awful.

At this point a very young girl suddenly pops her head up from behind the counter. Looking real funny at us. Like she had been listening to every last crazy thing my friend and I had been saying. And now after torturing her for an hour – we have no money for her mom.

“OK so you are open another 15 minutes. We’ll run to an ATM and be right back.”

“No no that’s fine. You can pay next time.”

It turns out she wasn’t open until 11 PM at all! She had only just started her restaurant and didn’t have time to take down the previous owner’s sign. She and her daughter were about to leave for the night when we showed up.

That moment changed my life. I have proof of this.

Years after I started updating Cafe Selam’s menus and helping with some ads, I finally say to Abebu “you need a website.”

Abebu says, “that means you are doing it.”

I had never made a website.

But I promised myself during a month I was house-sitting for my father, I’d make the Cafe Selam website. Somehow. And it wasn’t so easy back then!

Before long I was living in India. Making websites. Living everywhere!

Thank you Abebu. You’ve impacted my life in a way few people have. And not just by these circumstances. But mostly by the beauty of your food and kindness. You deserve every accolade, and every bit of customer love you keep receiving.

Here’s to another 20.


Celebrating 20 Years of Cafe Selam

In celebrating Cafe Selam’s 20th Anniversary Year, do you have a fun or interesting memory about your time with us?

Submit Your Story Here!

Share your story here—along with your first name or a nickname. We can’t wait to read and enjoy every one of them!

Thank You

Clicking the “Submit Your Story!” button below grants us permission to post your story.

Thank you for your very treasured time with us at Cafe Selam. It’s been a lot of fun!