Yes, Ethiopia does have food, 80’s commercials involving Sally Struthers notwithstanding.
Altu’s is an easily missed restaurant on Michigan Avenue next to the empty lot which was once the Silver Dollar Saloon. There are no large murals or African art outside to lead you to believe that an Ethiopian restaurant awaits behind the windows covered by bamboo blinds.
They have recently expanded and the interior is significantly larger as well as being nicely decorated. It feels more like a permanent restaurant than a place where someone threw up some chairs in an old shop and decided to cook food.
I had the spicy beef stew lunch with cabbage, and both were served on injera, a spongy Ethiopian bread. Utensils are optional, as it’s very easy to roll up the meat and cabbage into the bread and eat it with your fingers.
The lunch specials, which run $6-7, are mostly vegetarian, with a beef and a chicken stew as well. There are many different dinner dishes as well, though I have not experienced any of those. The chicken stew lunch is served with the same sauce as the beef, though the chicken is served on the bone.
I’ve been to Altu’s a half-dozen times, and have been impressed by the food each time. It’s simple but unique in the Lansing area, not known as a hotbed of Ethiopian culture. And it’s definitely worth bypassing fast food for a day to try something new.