Letena’s founder, Yamrot Ezineh hails from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and gained valuable experience working in a family-owned restaurant in the United Kingdom. This experience would later play a crucial role shaping her outlook of the restaurant business. After living in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington DC since 2008, she concluded that there was an unmet need of offering quality Ethiopian cuisine to further contribute to the diversity and vibrancy of the neighborhood. After four years of hard work in recipe development, securing financing, management of design and build-out, and planning start-up operations, Yamrot’s dream was made a reality when Letena opened its doors in October 2016.
To uphold authenticity and quality in enhancing Letena’s family based recipes, Yamrot went back home to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to consult with renowned Ethiopian chefs who have intimate knowledge of the cooking methods of chefs who used to manage the Royal Palace’s kitchens during Emperor Haile Selassie’s reign. As a trained Chemical/Process Engineer, Yamrot also focused on improving cooking methods, quality assurance and process flow.