2021 | Dine

New Ethiopian restaurant coming to Silver Spring

Shalla Restaurant and Bar will replace Balagger

Shalla Restaurant and Bar, a new Ethiopian restaurant, will replace former Ethiopian restaurant Balagger in downtown Silver Spring.

Photo via Google Streetview

Shalla Restaurant and Bar, an Ethiopian restaurant, will replace the closed Balagger Restaurant & Bar at 8081 Georgia Ave. in downtown Silver Spring, an owner said Tuesday.

Belete Weletaw, one of Shalla’s three owners, told Bethesda Beat on Tuesday that they are applying for a liquor license, and are scheduled to appear before the Board of License Commissioners on Thursday.

Balagger replaced the longtime restaurant Jackie’s in 2016, and served a variety of Ethiopian vegetable and meat entrees, frequently served with authentic injera flatbread.

Balagger’s Falls Church, Va., location remains open.

Beletaw said Shalla’s menu will likely mirror many items found at Balagger’s, although some of the recipes might change.

“We haven’t decided yet what kind of menu. It’s too early to tell,” he said.

Beletaw said he also isn’t sure when Shalla will open. He said when it does, he hopes the COVID-19 pandemic has become less dire, and that Montgomery County will have lifted some of its dining restrictions.

The other owners of Shalla are Temesgen Gebeyehu and Mekonnen Eshete.

Beletaw said this is the first time any of them owned a restaurant, but all have experience working in the industry. He said the three met while working at Abyssinia — another Ethiopian restaurant in downtown Silver Spring.

“We’ve been friends more than 10 years,” he said.

Source of the Spring on Monday reported Shalla’s impending opening.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com