Boulder’s Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian eatery continues hunt for permanent space

by Selam

If You Go

What: Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant

When: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 4-8 p.m.

Where: Broker Inn (Rodeway) 555 30th St.

Info: Cash and check only accepted for payment

The hunt continues for a permanent home for displaced Ras Kassa’s Ethiopian Restaurant.

Owner Tsehay Hailu has been operating out of the Broker/Rodeway Inn since earlier this summer. The longtime local eatery was ousted from its 3111 30th St. premises in March 2015 to make way for the planned Google campus.

After a pop-up weekend at the Broker, Hailu began cooking from a second-floor kitchen at the hotel, where patrons have sought her out for takeout or to sit at one of the lounge tables to enjoy the authentic cuisine.

“I am deeply touched for all the love and support that this community has shown me, now and over the years,” she said. “Our sweet customers call me daily with tips about places that they think would work.

“I love them for that.”

Restaurant space in the city is hard to come by, said commercial real estate broker Scott Crabtree, with The Colorado Group.

“Vacancy rates on restaurant spaces are really low: below 5 percent and maybe even closer to three,” Crabtree said. “Landlords hesitate to hand over retail space to restaurants because they tend to be (costly) build-outs and have high turnover.”

It’s expensive, too, leasing for $25 per square foot on the low end to upward of $50 in downtown Boulder.

As the search drags on into its eighteenth month, Hailu has begun exploring other options, like a food truck. She also plans to start a fundraising campaign in September, with a tentative goal of $120,000.

In the meantime, business is starting to pick up as more loyal fans find their way to her at the Broker and help spread the word.

Kelly Basinger has been a devoted fan of Ras Kassa’s since taking her now-husband

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