Habiba’s Ethiopian Kitchen plans to fill the tenth vendor slot in the Salt City Market, taking over the stall formerly occupied by Pie’s the Limit Bakery. The East African restaurant and caterer will be located between Erma’s Island and the Syracuse Cooperative Market on the southern end of the building. 

“Habiba’s Ethiopian Kitchen has been a beloved Northside staple for nearly 4 years, so we’re very excited and lucky to have her join the Salt City Market team,” says Adam Sudmann, Market Manager.  “Her story and passion totally fit the mission of the market, and we know she’ll bring a wealth of experience and perspective to our current vendors.”

“Earlier this year, we conducted focus groups to find out what customers wanted to see next in the Salt City Market, and got a number of requests to see an African food concept,” says CJ Butler, Marketing and Communications Manager. “When we learned a few months later that Pie’s the Limit was moving on and Habiba’s was in need of a new location, it felt like divine timing.”

Since opening in 2018, Habiba’s Ethiopian Kitchen has been located at 656 North Salina Street. However, like many small businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic brought on additional challenges; combined with deteriorating building facilities, staying in her flagship location became unsustainable.  

“I love the Northside, I will always love the Northside because my restaurant got its start there,” says Habiba Boru, owner of Habiba’s Ethiopian Kitchen. “But I’m also really excited to take the next step into a new journey and be a part of something as unique as the Salt City Market.”

Habiba’s Ethiopian Kitchen will reopen within the Salt City Market in early September; the North side location will close permanently as she makes the transition. For more information on Habiba’s Ethiopian Kitchen, visit habibaskitchen.com.

About Salt City Market: Salt City Market is about food, culture, and people doing what they love. The four-story building, located in the heart of Downtown Syracuse, features a 10-vendor food hall, grocery store, and coffee shop/bar on the first floor; offices on the second floor; and mixed-income housing on the third and fourth floors. The Market is open Monday-Saturday from 11AM-9PM, as well as Sunday from 11AM-5PM. For more information, visit saltcitymarket.com.

About Habiba: My name is Habiba Boru, it means the beloved one, and I am an Ethiopian Chef who has found a home and a community in Syracuse. Although, my name means beloved one, life showed me that no matter how foreign or alone I felt, I was surrounded by amazing people who gave me so much love no matter life’s circumstance.

Kakuma Refugee Camp
At 4 years old, my family left Ethiopia due to war. Me and my siblings were separated and suddenly I became an only child. I learned adult responsibilities at an early age, care-taking for seniors and children in one of the largest refugee camps in Kenya for 10 years. In camp, I watched my mother cook to support our family. She sold meals out of a small hut built out of mud and sticks—she called it Habiba’s Hotel. She inspired me the way young girls are inspired by heroines. Her cooking created joy, laughter, community and opportunities. It was in that camp and through those moments I saw and felt the desire to do the same.

Injera and Misir
I remember being 7 years old and showing my mother that I could cook alongside her. I absolutely loved cooking injera and misir. The reason being that my parents didn’t have enough money to buy us meat everyday so my mother would make the best lentils in the world. I could eat her lentils for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! She made it with so much love that I’m reminded of her each time I eat lentils hence they’ve become a signature dish. My mother is an angel and even now she is my best friend. No matter the distance, our experiences together have brought us to this day. From Ethiopia to Syracuse and from Habiba’s Hotel to Habiba’s Ethiopian Kitchen, we cook for our families, bringing people together around food, culture and ultimately love.