Taste This: Brunch and Beyond at Gojo

Brunch isn't typically the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of traditional Ethiopian fare—but that's exactly what's being served up these days at Gojo, Eastown's hidden gem of a restaurant.

You might have stopped into Gojo for a lunch or dinner, or you may not have even been aware of this culinary spot at all. Tucked into a building off Lake Street (421 Norwood SE, Grand Rapids), the restaurant's location isn't its best feature. So if you haven't been, it's time to swing by and see for yourself if Gojo lives up to its stellar online reviews.

Really, you can't go wrong with any of the plates. A customer favorite is the lamb platter, its meat juicy, tender and savory. Plenty of side dishes—lentils, vegetables and other meats—add complementary tastes. And of course, everything rests atop injera, the sponge-y flatbread used to scoop up each mouthful.

But back to the weekend brunch. For $12, you're given a variety of authentic dishes from which to choose: scrambled eggs with meat or veggies; curried potatoes, carrots and cabbage; a rotating mix of collared greens, green beans, kale and mustard greens spiced with ginger root and garlic; lentils; mild and spicy chicken and beef dishes; turkey burgers; French toast and cinnamon pancakes with Ethiopian spiced butter; and a soup of the day. Phew! That's a lot of food. We suggest sampling it all (in small bites). Wash your satisfying meal down with a cup of spiced coffee or papaya juice.

Owner Samuel Terfa opened Gojo in late 2007 to introduce Ethiopian culture and cuisine to Grand Rapids, enhancing Eastown's growing diverse culinary scene. Terfa's hope is that people will experience a warm, comfortable environment and a feeling of community while enjoying quality cuisine at Gojo. And that's exactly what's happening here.

Take a seat at one of the round tables in this intimate space and you're offered a hot cup of Ethiopian spiced tea and a welcoming conversation, courtesy of Terfa. Dishes are made for sharing, so bring a friend or six and stay a while. This isn't the kind of place that's going to rush your dining and socializing experience—whether you're there on a Tuesday night or a Saturday morning.

Gojo's brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.


Come for dinner and play detective in a classic mystery set in the 1920s, featuring gangsters, mobsters and other suspicious characters. During this engaging evening out, professional improv actors will set the stage for the audience to solve the clues and find the culprit. For $60, you get to enjoy the show along with three courses of Italian fare, a rich chocolate dessert and drink specials. Shows run on March 1, 15, 20 and 22 at Pietro's Italian Restaurant (2780 Birchcrest Dr., Grand Rapids). Reserve your ticket online or at 1-888-643-CLUE.

celebrate St. Patty's Day this year by indulging in traditional Irish fare with a crowd of fellow revelers. On March 17, David's Deli (30 N. Whittaker St., New Buffalo) will host its annual event featuring all-you-can-eat corned beef sandwiches and Green River. Vote on the best brisket, with selections offered from five different purveyors. This tried-and-true comfort food destination will start serving sandwiches at 11 a.m. (until they run out!). For $5, you'll definitely get your money's worth.