Ethiopian neighborhood in Las Vegas could get official designation

By Abby Theodros

A community informally known as Little Ethiopia could get that official designation, if a Nevada assemblyman has his way. Assemblyman Alexander Assefa, who is the first Ethiopian-American elected in to public office in the state, made the proposal this week before the Clark County Commission.

“The vast majority of the [Ethiopian] population and the businesses are located along Decatur,” said Assefa.

He added that the Little Ethiopia designation would focus on the area near Flamingo Road and Decatur Boulevard.

While the county could not comment on the proposal, a representative said staff members are in the early stages of developing a policy to create official designation in parts of Clark County populated by specific demographics.

“I’m so excited,” community organizer Koki Yohannes said. Yohannes has been a member of the Ethiopian and Eritrean community in Las Vegas for more than two decades.

“[There are] a lot of Ethiopian markets, restaurants and small businesses. I think it’s time.”

Assefa estimates there are 60 small businesses owned by Ethiopians who live in Nevada.

Melkam Market is one of those establishments.

Customers can sit down and enjoy a traditional Ethiopian meal inside the shop’s restaurant, then pick up international ingredients, like spices, in the attached market to use at home.

In that same plaza, Mini Yohannes, opened Nu Ethiopian Kitchen less than a year ago.

“Americans love the veggie combo or our tibbs,” said Yohannes. Tibbs is a Ethiopian delicacy in which spiced, cubed beef is cooked sometimes sautéed veggies.

“It is to highlight a community that is an important part of the diverse fabrics that make us a strong Nevada,” said Assefa.

Assefa hopes the Little Ethiopia title is official by September, in time for Ethiopian New Year.

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