Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant in Bethesda vacant, owner's plans unclear

Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant in Bethesda vacant

Equipment removed, but no indication from owner of plans

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Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant in Bethesda was vacant this week after its equipment was removed last weekend

Photo by Steve Hull

Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant in Woodmont Triangle was vacant this week after its equipment was removed last weekend.

On Tuesday morning, most of the tables were gone, and a few chairs were scattered around the dining room. There was no clear indication, though — either at the restaurant or online — of the owner’s plans.

Reached by phone on Tuesday, owner Mekonnen Abraham said he was busy and would call back. However, he did not respond to two more calls on Tuesday, as well as a text message and an email.

On Wednesday, he did not respond to two phone calls and an email.

Laura Houlihan, the owner of the neighboring restaurant Barrel & Crow, told Bethesda Beat on Monday that someone was clearing equipment from Lucy on Sunday night. She said someone removed a TV and other items from the walls and put liquor in bus tubs, which are large storage containers, to take out of the restaurant.

Equipment has been removed from Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant in Bethesda. Photo by Dan Schere.

This week, Lucy’s website no longer worked and there was no voicemail at the Bethesda restaurant.

Abraham opened Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant at 4865 Cordell Ave. in February 2018, moving into the former Grapeseed restaurant space.

It was the second Lucy’s in Montgomery County, joining the original location in downtown Silver Spring.

The name of the restaurant, Bethesda Beat reported then, comes from a fossilized hominid species discovered in Ethiopia in 1974.

In August 2017, as Abraham made plans to open the Bethesda restaurant, he said he and his wife, Seble Lemma, had run the Silver Spring restaurant for about five years.

However, a woman who answered the phone at the Silver Spring restaurant on Monday said the two restaurants are currently managed separately. She did not have additional details about the Bethesda restaurant.

Thomas Conley, the landlord for the Lucy restaurant space, told Bethesda Beat on Monday that he heard the rumor that Lucy had closed, but his tenant hadn’t given up possession of the property yet.

“I hadn’t received the key,” he said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Lucy Ethiopian still had an active liquor license, Jocelyn Rawat, the licensure manager for Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services, wrote in an email to Bethesda Beat.

Dan Schere can be reached at

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