Teff, a restaurant on the city’s West Side that serves Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine, will move within the city, to a larger location in the downtown.
As noted on its Instagram account and in window signs, the restaurant will close Sunday at 113 W. Main St. — culminating an eight-year run at its current address. It plans to then re-open in mid-September at 84 W. Park Place. Its new venue is located between two other restaurants, Noches de Colombia and Riviera Maya, in the building that housed the former Davenport Hotel.
“It’s been an almost two-year effort handling this relocation to Columbus Park, and Teff has been fortunate to experience a boom in business during the pandemic via takeout and delivery, especially with the vast number of new Stamford residents,” Teff owner Elsa Mekonen said in an email. “It was time to move to a bigger space that can handle the volume of orders we prepare and with better parking and accessibility in the area.”
At 84 W. Park Place, Teff will take approximately 3,600 square feet, with room for “upwards of” 80 to 90 seats, according to Mekonen. At 113 W. Main, Teff has occupied 1,650 square feet, with about 40 seats. With the larger space, “we will have a much larger kitchen and will have a full-service bar, versus at West Main Street where we were only zoned for beer/wine,” Mekonen said.
At the same time, the Teff team hopes to make parking easier for patrons. The new location is near several public parking garages.
“Parking at West Main Street usually included street parking and a lot we rented from the former Auto Tech space, but there is construction currently in progress for residential apartments and is owned by Empire Residential, who also owns the building the new Teff is relocating to,” Mekonen said. “When we lost access to the former Auto Tech space, we relied on street parking, which has become an overwhelming burden not because of use of the Mill River playground and park but because people have discovered that it is free parking and leave their vehicles there for indefinite periods of time.”
In response to an inquiry from CT Insider about the city’s enforcement of parking regulations on and around West Main Street, Stamford Transportation Bureau Chief Frank Petise said in an email that, “the meter zones in the city are approved by the Board of Representatives for the city. Currently, the parking on West Main Street near Mill River is signed for two-hour parking, which is free of charge with a time limit. In order to enforce the time limit, the officers take note of the vehicle wheel positioning and return two hours later to see if they have moved.”
Teff’s menu is overseen by chef Hadas Mengesha, who is Mekonen’s mother. The restaurant’s name refers to its culinary heritage.
“Teff is a fine grain — about the size of a poppy seed — that grows predominantly in Ethiopia and Eritrea and comprises the staple grain of their cuisines,” says an excerpt on Teff’s website. “The grain has a very mild, nutty flavor, and it packs a serious nutritional punch.”