Haime Asfaw

Restaurant leads Ethiopian to better life

Restaurant owner Haime Asfaw, 40, fled Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
during a civil war in 1982. She resettled in Los Angeles, where
she supported herself and her son by working in a bank. She
attended college, too.

But when her son, Michael, grew into a teenager, she worried
about his safety in Los Angeles. “We didn’t have gangs in our
country. That was the reason I moved to Colorado – to give him a
better life.”

Starting in 1992, Asfaw worked in a Denver typewriter shop,
then a bank, then as an accountant at Denver International
Airport. Gradually she settled into a city that felt cosmopolitan
yet relaxed, with a diverse population and good weather. In 1997,
she rented an old shop and began selling Ethiopian spices to other
immigrants. A year later, she renovated that shop at 3504 E.
Colfax Avenue and turned it into the Arada Ethiopian Restaurant.

Newspaper reviewers rate her food highly.

Michael, 22, now studies at Metropolitan State College. Asfaw
misses Ethiopia – her relatives and culture – and visits when

But more and more customers are demanding the spicy meats and
vegetables she prepares according to ancient traditions her mother
taught her in Africa. “My mother deserves all the credit,” Asfaw
said Thursday at work.