Couple continue through hard times

Kristine M. Kierzek

Solomon Bekele and Mulu Habtesilssie know challenges. They know resilience. 

When the husband and wife first opened Alem Ethiopian Village in 2008, it was in the midst of economic recession. They were the only business on their block at the time, and they quickly built a following for their buffets and vegan meals. 

Now, the restaurant, at 307 E. Wisconsin Ave., has shifted to takeout and curbside only, paring down the  menu considerably, with Habtesilssie and Bekele handling the cooking. Current hours are 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and orders are being taken only by phone at (414) 224-5324.

Business beginnings

Solomon: My mom, she passed away in 2005. Her dream was to open a restaurant. We continued that momentum, that idea forward. We came across this space downtown that was vacant forever. It is a nice place in the middle of downtown to open a restaurant. The name is for her, that is her first name, Alem. We opened to memorialize her life and her desire.