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2008_01_merkato.jpgUrbanDaddy has it that Merkato 55, Marcus Samuelsson's new MePa African joint, will open next Wednesday, which means it'll definitely be open by the end of the month. More: "Based on Samuelsson's revelatory food trip to Africa, Merkato is the latest multi-story continent-defining food temple run amok. Walk into the lively first floor and you'll immediately notice the Mali-inspired clay bar with shelves for the house-infused spiced rums. Start with a drink and a plate of hummus and dips at one of the communal tables before heading up the wrought iron stairs to the more formal dining room." [UrbanDaddy]

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