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Friday, March 2, 2012

Radio Africa & Kitchen: Chef Pops Up in Bayview with a Family-Style Restaurant

Posted By on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Radio Africa & Ethiopian-Global in Bayview. - AMY F JOHNSON/AKFDESIGN
  • amy f johnson/akfdesign
  • Radio Africa & Ethiopian-Global in Bayview.

Chef Eskender Aseged made his name hosting pop-ups for the past seven years. Now he's using that expertise to launch his own family-style restaurant in Bayview next week.

Aseged's new restaurant, Radio Africa & Kitchen, started in Aseged's home after he moved to San Francisco from Ethiopia. At first he was serving home-cooked meals for friends and family, and he has since thrown pop-up dinners -- serving what he calls "Red Sea meets Mediterranean" food -- at locations such as Coffee Bar and Velo Rouge.

Aseged says the new restaurant will have a generous amount of space for guests to share food, family-style. And he's fostering that environment with family-style seating, which he says is community-oriented, sustainable, and "financially viable." By seating multiple small parties at a table for 14, Aseged is encouraging guests to socialize outside their own bubble and befriend their neighbors; he believes guests will have more fun this way, especially if they come alone. From Aseged's popup experience, he says, "It's like having a party every night."

Chef Eskender Asged moved from Ethiopia to SF 25 years ago. - AMY F JOHNSON/AKFDESIGN
  • amy f johnson/akfdesign
  • Chef Eskender Asged moved from Ethiopia to SF 25 years ago.

Family-style meals also harken back to the chef's memories of Ethiopia. "The idea of a family table is that people eat based on their size and needs, so nothing is wasted," Aseged says. The concept of ordering the right portions for a group is also a way for guests -- especially families -- to save money.

Many of the ingredients for his dishes will be grown in a community garden located across the street from the restaurant. In his first menu, for example, Aseged is using peas, chard, kale and green onions grown there. He plans to use the garden even more during the summer.

Aseged has been working to improve the Bayview neighborhood for years, organizing nonprofits and volunteering to work on this community garden long before his restaurant opened. "I'm moving into a neighborhood that needs more healthy [food] alternatives, and I'm excited to offer them," Aseged says.

Radio Africa & Kitchen is hosting its opening-night party on Wednesday, March 7, at 5 p.m. with food, drinks, and live music. Reservations, which are required, can be made by phone 415-420-2486.

Radio Africa & Kitchen, 4800 Third St., 420-2486,

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