Owners of Desta Ethiopian Restaurant Found Shot to Death in Front of Their Home This Morning

This morning I bear sad news: Yayehyirad Lemma and Yenenesh Desta, the couple who owned Desta, an Ethiopian restaurant on Greenville Avenue, were found dead on the front porch of their home this morning in the M Streets. DMN’s Travis Hudson writes that there is still no clear motive as to why Lemma and his wife were attacked “just after midnight when they returned home from a 16-hour shift at Desta,” a restaurant one of our food writers last year described as  having a “contemporary take on Ethiopian cuisine.”

Police arrived at the scene to find the man and woman already dead after getting reports about shots being fired in the Lower Greenville Avenue. There’s no word yet on what changes will take place at Desta now that the events of this morning have transpired.

UPDATE: Our former colleague Sarah Reiss was admirer of Ethiopian food. She wrote this piece on how Ethiopian food saved her marriage. Sarah also penned “How Dallas Got So Many Ethiopian Restaurants.”


  • Scott

    I suppose we’ll know what’s going on here soon. My wild guess will be a disgruntled former employee (or partner) or something of the like. Seems pretty pointed and specific and waited-for.

    Very sad, I absolutely loved that place. It made me proud of living in Dallas and taking friends and family there. I might bemoan the lack of certain ethnic cuisine options close-in Dallas from time to time, but then you realize the Ethiopian presence. I think this story is only going to get more sad. Hopefully there’s some management, family or something in place to ensure the restaurant can find a way to stay open and serve a needed role in the city.

  • Pingback: Owners of Desta Ethiopian Restaurant Found Shot to Death in Front … | Food News Gator()

  • Fasil

    I just attended a public mourning set up for both late couple at Saint Michael Ethiopian Orthodox in Garland Texas. Most attendees who knew the couple are still onverge of disbelief on this terrible incident. Everyone I talked to was overwhelmed by tear and agony.

  • hagos

    It is tragic and still can’t believe it. After a 16 hour shift going to your home to take some rest and being eager to kiss your little son who is waiting long un-slept….it is terrible! This is a premeditated killing to satisfy someone’s evil wish. The couple were hardworking guys having a big dream serving the society. Life is short for everyone ,and the killer will die sooner or later…my deepest sympathy to their family and customers! RIP

  • twinwillow

    I never ate in their restaurant. Nor did I ever meet them. But I am overwhelmed with sadness at such an evil, vile act. My heart go’s out to their family and friends.

  • Brandon

    This is crazy I was just there last night, and spoke to the owner Desta, she’s a really great lady and we always have great convo, I hope we get some answers soon!!! She did seem a bit different when we chatted! This is crazy!!

  • yenenesh

    Love them the best friends, bosess and fam. What evil has come upon us! Sad to the core miss them already. Why why?

  • kim

    I was there this weekend with my co-workers and we were all admiring the place and the food. One of the best Ethiopian restaurants i’ve ever been to.This is so surreal..i hope they catch the the bastard

  • wengel

    Omg ,this is shocking story am really sorry R.I.P my thoughts &prayers is always with u &u r loved ones ,hard worker& innocent couples ,may God put u r soul in Heaven:(

  • hazen

    It is to sad. There should not be a way the criminals be left live in the peaceful community. I can hypothesis the possibility of this act of crime. First, Desta Restaurant is a Newly open Restaurant, but gaining popularity and customers better than those Ethiopian Restaurants in the area which had been there many years earlier than Desta. Probably one of these Ethiopian Restaurants owner does not like his or her business going down. Rather than changing business strategy to keep competent in the market, they facilitated the death of these two couples. Second, hypothesis could be there is restaurant in Atlanta which has similar name -“Desta Ethiopian Restaurant”- if these couples had connection like business partnership with the one in Atlanta. There might be disagreement between them. The owner in Atlanta might felt betrayed and facilitate their death. Reading from the news report, I do not think the crime related to robbery. It is organized crime which considered the weather condition and timing.

  • hazen

    One more possibility could be an angry customer during the day.

  • Scott Linscheid

    My wife Yeshi and I used to visit 4 or 5 different Ethiopian restaurants around Dallas, but after a couple visits to Desta, we never wanted to go anywhere but there. Why? Because of Yenenesh Desta (she went by “Selam”). Selam cooked the best Habesha food, as good as anything you could find back in Ethiopia (at least that’s what my Ethiopian wife tells me). But great food in and of itself didn’t earn our loyalty – it was Selam herself that kept us coming back and her AWESOME staff. They understood how to provide GREAT customer service. No matter how busy it was, Selam always came out of the kitchen to give us a hug and speak with us at our table. She had a way of talking with our 4-yr-old son that made him smile and often blush. Tears well up in my eyes as I think about how sweet and warm she was, and ache at the thought of not seeing her smiling face again. Her husband, Yared, was a quiet and kind-hearted man, and they both were working so hard to build their restaurant and serve the community. My wife and I had just celebrated our 6th anniversary at Desta over the weekend, and we are going to miss Selam and Yared so, so much. I think I know why the rain was pouring down Tuesday night when this occurred – God was crying hard for His two children who were slain by some evil animal. Our prayers go out for all the family (especially their son) and friends who are left behind, and for the capture and punishment of all those responsible for this senseless murder of these two beautiful people.

  • hagos

    Police ID suspect in couple’s murders….Police ID suspect in couple’s murders

  • Bitu

    This is an evil act. I ache with the friends and family of the slain couple. May God comfort them as they live through this painful ordeal. I hope Dallas police will arrest the evil person that ended their life. Let us pray for justice to come forth. Let us help their child who is now an orphan.
    …..Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. Matthew 24:12