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Chef Winnie’s Kitchen area in Clarkston

Dressed in a crimson chef’s smock with a matching cap, Woinshet Legesse Emory, 62, is the undisputed star of this tiny cafe. Talk to about her everyday living, and she’ll notify you she was born into wealth and privilege, but she normally has liked to get the job done. Which is the place her vitality will come from.

“I appear like a 25-yr-aged!” said the vivacious grandmother of 3.

Soon after marrying an Ethiopian politician who was jailed when a new govt came to energy, she fled to the U.S. with her daughter in 1991, married a next time, and had two far more young children. All the when, she supervised the food stuff provider plans at major-identify lodges (Hilton, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons). Continue to, she felt a thing was lacking.

“I was the supervisor, but I didn’t know the kitchen area,” Emory explained.

So, she returned to college and acquired a bachelor’s in culinary administration from Le Cordon Bleu and a master’s in business administration from Johnson & Wales University. She has done most of the perform toward her doctorate.

She inevitably fell on tough instances, nevertheless, and misplaced her home. Her credit history ranking plummeted. And, just prior to the pandemic, she hit rock bottom. She was driving an Uber — at night — and nervous for her safety.

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Right after many years in lodge-restaurant administration and racking up a wall of culinary degrees, Chef Woinshet Legesse Emory opened her first restaurant, Chef Winnie’s Kitchen area, at 62. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit rating: Wendell Brock

Credit score: Wendell Brock

That’s when a good friend came to her rescue and assisted underwrite her 1st solo cafe. Concealed in the back of a shotgun-design and style industrial space on East Ponce de Leon Avenue, Chef Winnie’s is a tiny eating area with large taste.

Though the bulk of the menu is Ethiopian, you also will locate wings, burgers, cheesesteaks, Jamaican-model fettuccini Alfredo and curries. Quite a few things are accessible as vegan versions, developed from jackfruit or other meat substitutes.

“I didn’t want to be only for Ethiopians, mainly because of my education and learning track record,” Emory said. “I established a menu that touches all people. I have Hispanic food items, for the reason that I learned that (from co-workers). I have French food items, because I realized that (at culinary college). I have Ethiopian food, for the reason that that is who I am.”

Takeout boxes are lined with house-manufactured teff injera and crammed with the likes of gomen be sega (collards with meat), kitfo (steak tartare) and the veggie combo (lentils, break up beans, cabbage and carrots, collards and a refreshing salad).

Halting by on a Sunday for takeout, I sipped a cup of sturdy espresso and watched in awe as Emory and her a single assistant did it all, calmly and gracefully. Emory waited on attendees, breezed in and out of the kitchen area, packed up the food stuff, ran the sign-up.

Her initial cafe might be a “teeny-little gap,” but she’s unfazed, delighted, ambitious. “I connect with it the Ritz-Carlton of Clarkston,” explained the exquisite chef with the sparkling, motion picture-star eyes.

ExploreJust take a food items tour of Clarkston
Woinshet Legesse Emory displays her culinary degrees above an Ethiopian coffee service at her Clarkston restaurant, Chef Winnie’s Kitchen. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Woinshet Legesse Emory shows her culinary degrees above an Ethiopian coffee assistance at her Clarkston cafe, Chef Winnie’s Kitchen. Wendell Brock for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit history: Wendell Brock

Credit rating: Wendell Brock


Menu: Ethiopian and international

Alcohol: no

What I requested: Ethiopian-style quesadilla, veggie combo, kitfo, gomen be sega, fish curry. All the things from this sweet, peaceful tiny place was delectable, refreshing, and produced with care, and the portions were generous. I specifically cherished the veggie combo and the curry, and was extremely impressed that Chef Winnie’s tends to make its own teff injera (which, by the way, is gluten-cost-free). And, I cherished the way the quesadilla was grilled to a correct char and oozed with tacky goodness.

Support alternatives: dine-in, takeout or delivery by way of Seamless, Grubhub, DoorDash, Postmates and Ubereats

Outside eating: indeed

Mask policy: the employees is totally vaccinated, but will don masks upon ask for consumers may possibly make a decision for on their own

Handle, cell phone: 4238 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Clarkston 404-228-9152

Several hours: 12 p.m.-12 a.m. each and every day

Internet site:

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