Michael Blackwell recently purchased the building that once housed Dahlak Restaurant and Bar at 5547 Germantown Ave.
He’s been in the real estate market for four years and says he’s flipped close to 100 properties in that time. The former construction worker has a knack for refurbishing old businesses and properties. The Germantown restaurant and bar will be his first experience with owning and operating a food service establishment. He’s confident that he has what it takes.
“I know I have a good network of friends and family and I’ll be able to keep this place full,” Blackwell said.
He has big plans for the restaurant. He said he would like to stick with the Ethiopian cuisine and décor because he thinks it attracts the type of people he’d like as his customers. He said he already has people calling for reservations, though he’s not sure when it will be ready for the grand opening.
A lifelong resident of West Oak Lane, Blackwell is looking to revitalize his community. He said that he’s excited to be part of the reinvigoration of the block of Germantown Avenue where his restaurant is.
“I’d like [Germantown] to be a small Society Hill or Manayunk someday,” he said. “I want to think outside the box with this place.”
He’s hoping that the unique cuisine will attract a younger, more professional crowd.