After years of renovations, Zemams Ethiopian Cuisine is once again open at its original location on Broadway in Midtown.

The family-owned business and Tucson staple is now much more than just a restaurant: Its part of an international block called Z-Street. The entrance and parking are next to Roccos Little Chicago.

The Gebremariam family founded Zemams in the early ’90s in the commercial space connected to their home on Broadway.

This transformation started when Zemams on Broadway closed in 2020, during the pandemic and the Broadway widening project. The restaurant then operated solely out of a second location on Speedway, which is now closed.

Z-Street has been in motion since 2021 and is backed by Rio Nuevo.

We want people to walk in that door and go Holy sh, where am I? What is this? This is so cool, said Favin Gebremariam, daughter of Zemams founder Amanuel Gebremariam. Zemams is named after Amanuels mother.

A revamped Zemams

The original restaurant space is now expanded. It had only four tables, but now features more than triple the the seating capacity plus even more outdoors.

African art fills the walls and adorns the ceilings.

The kitchen space has also more than tripled. Though the menu has not changed and the Gebremariams continue to make their Ethiopian injera bread every morning.

At the front door, the restaurant offers merchandise as well as art, glassware and bracelets from around the world.

An international sports bar

What was a vacant insurance building next door is now an international sports bar named Zerais. Its named after Amanuels late younger brother.

The bar will be open for monthly late night dance parties and early morning soccer kick offs.

We have an Ethiopian dad so we grew up playing soccer, watching soccer Were just really excited to bring a lot of what people loved about Zemams into this new space here.

The bar also features international beers and spirits as well as African art and a mask wall. Favin says customers can add to the wall with masks from their travels or experiences.

We want that to grow and we want this to be representative of the community, she said.

Our contractor busted through the ceiling and it was all of this.

A bright future

An Ethiopian coffee shop is the next experience coming to Z-street. The building is under construction, next to Zerais.

The shop will be called Zidamo, a play on Sidamo, an Ethiopian province known for its coffee. It will be a joint venture with Tucson-based Savaya Coffee, and feature traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies.

Down the road, the plan is for local food vendors to set up stalls here behind the buildings to feature their creations. Favin wants it to look like an international bazaar.

I think we wanna give new entrepreneurs an opportunity, right? she explained. My dad opened this restaurant with a credit card and there were four tables. You know, thats all we could do. And its evolved, into this!

And its a space that will keep evolving.

The Tucson community is growing, and theres more people from all over the world that are coming to Tucson, said Favin. And its really important for anybody that you see your culture represented in a place that you call home.