I live just a few blocks from Sidamo, so I was very hopeful that it would be a good place to hang out and have cup of coffee or two. I was not disappointed.
Sidamo is at the far west end of the H Street corridor. The neighborhood is still a little gritty, but getting better. It's fine during the day, but I'd avoid going there after dark.
I could smell the aroma of coffee being roasted as I approached the front door. Inside I met the owner, a soft-spoken but friendly Ethiopian gentleman, who was sitting in front of a big red roaster right in the front window, roasting a bunch of beans. He showed me what he was doing and discussed the process as he continued to roast. There were burlap bags of unroasted coffee beans to the left of the door, and a rack holding sections of the Post, the City Paper, Hill Rag, etc., to browse through while sipping coffee. Very cool.
Slices of cake were displayed in the glass case in the front. Glass jars holding several dozen different loose teas and tisanes were behind the bar.
I had a chicken caesar salad, a lemon coffee cake, and the brew of the day, which was an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (whatever that is). The salad greens were fresh, the chicken was moist and good, and the dressing was tasty and not overpowering. The coffee had an interesting, pleasant flavor that was much more complex than the typical chain coffeehouse brew.
I lingered there for over an hour, reading the paper and sipping my coffee. I felt no pressure to leave, despite there only being about 5 tables in the small shop. There was a door, up some stairs, that apparently leads to an outside seating area that is open during the summer. Two of the other patrons had well-behaved small children who were clearly welcome by the management.
I'm very happy that an independent coffee house with such a relaxed and friendly atmosphere has come into my neighborhood. I'll likely be a regular here.
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