At first glance, it’s hard to tell that Nile Grocery and Café is a café. But walk through the door past the counter with the cash register and you’ll find a quaint café that seats about 16 people.
Owners Zevabruk Abay and Tsige Meshesha make you feel at home. Their warm welcome lets you know that even if you haven’t had Ethiopian food— you’re in for a delightful experience.
The couple opened the grocery store in 2005 because they recognized a desire for authentic Ethiopian food. But it hasn’t been easy to find ingredients from Ethiopia to prepare their homeland’s cuisine.
“We serve the Ethiopian community members. We get the products they want,” said Abay. The couple opened the café in 2007—it’s open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
Traditional Ethiopian dishes are served on a mesob, a handcrafted tabletop that family members or friends sit around to eat. Food is eaten by hand and served with daily fresh-made injera, a flat, round bread with a spongy texture. You can expect to eat a combination of di!erent side items all at once. To eat the traditional way, tear o! a piece of injera to scoop up a bite of your dish.
Some of the dishes are dulet, a chopped beef dish with pepper and garlic; fir fir, a beef dish made with spices; and doro wat, a spicy dish made with chicken and eggs that’s considered to be the Ethiopian national dish. Vegetarian options include cabbage made with carrots and potatoes, lentils and shiro, a dish made with ground chickpeas and a mixture of spices.
“I want people to learn how to eat with their hands because for us it is very natural. I want people to experience something new. This is a very delicious food,” said Abay.
- Profile written by Lashawnda K. Becoats
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