Palmer Café Let to Tutu’s Ethiopian Table

READING Council today announced the new tenant of Palmer Park’s Lodge Café as Award winning Tutu Melaku, the founder and owner of Tutu's Ethiopian Table.

The new venture replaces the Chalkboard Café, which closed in 2017. The café is located close to the park playground at the edge of Wokingham Road in east Reading. The first ‘Pavilion Refreshment Room’ was opened at this location in 1891 and the café still has elements of the original kitchen and fireplace features to present day.

Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted to announce we have found a fantastic new tenant for Palmer Café, following our community letting process earlier this year. “Tutu is famous in Reading for her delicious Ethiopian fare, and I for one cannot wait to visit the café when it reopens in early 2019! I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has been involved in making this happen. The new café will be a great benefit to the local community.”

Tutu said:

“I am thrilled that Reading Borough Council is giving me this opportunity to expand my Ethiopian Table to this wonderful new location in Palmer Park Café. I look forward to welcoming my new and old customers to my beautiful new venue, where I will offer my Ethiopian cuisine, as well hot drinks and snacks.” Council officers are currently working with Tutu to bring the building back into use and it is anticipated the new café will open as soon as possible in the New Year.



The Council launched a community letting process in early 2018. The opportunity was advertised publicly through both the Council’s and Reading Voluntary Action’s (RVA’s) websites and networks.

About Tutu’s Ethiopian Table

Tutu, who moved to Reading in 1991, was born and grew up in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. Her cooking has won a number of accolades, including Restaurant of the Year in the Pride of Reading awards, Innovative Business Award in London from the Habesha Business Association, an organisation that recognises excellence in Ethiopian businesses in the UK, Reading Food Hero as well as winner of the lovely lunch 2013 Retail awards. Her menu offers a tasty and nutritious selection of meat and vegetarian stews, served with the Ethiopian traditional pancake, Injera. Find out more about Tutu’s Ethiopian Table at