What's Cooking: St. Yared

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St.Yared is an Ethiopian restaurant in the Geist area of Fishers that customers love.

It's tucked into a small strip mall at 11210 Fall Creek Road. Owners Etenesh and Haile Abebe opened St. Yared in 2013 to introduce Hoosiers to their native Ethiopian food, but also their culture.

From the minute you walk in, you are greeted with warmth and kind welcomes by either one of the owners, or friendly wait staff. You won't hear blaring music, or tv's tuned to local programming. Instead, the walls are covered with pictures of Ethiopia, in an effort to share the culture with diners.

"In our culture, it is believed when dining, you are eating with angels, so that's what we want it to be like for our customers" said Haile.

In the kitchen, it's Etenesh that cooks every meal.

"Everything is fresh, nothing is out of a can. I have people who help me prep, but I cook everything."

She cooks using a popular spice used in almost every dish in Ethiopia called Berbere. Etenesh's mother and sisters make the spice for St. Yared's in Ethiopia, and send batches to Fishers every month.

"We want it to be like you are eating in my mothers home, every time you come in to dine with us."

The meals are filling, and flavorful.

While visiting, I tried several dishes. My favorite, and one of the most popular dishes in Ethiopia, is called Doro Wat. It's chicken drumsticks seasoned with Berbere along with boiled eggs. It was an unusual, but tasty mix with a lot of flavor.

One thing customers not familiar with Ethiopian culture will learn while there is that most meals are meant to be eaten with injera bread, not forks. That's a sourdough-risen flatbread, with a slightly spongy texture. Guests are encouraged to tear off a piece of the bread, and then be creative, grabbing a little of this and that, mixing flavors.

I really enjoyed this food and experience. The food, which is heavy on vegetables, is so flavorful.

But if you can't make it for lunch or dinner, how about just a coffee? St. Yared uses, of course, Ethiopian beans. Customers I talked with said its the best coffee they've ever had. Once you've had it, there's no going back.