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See inside Addis NOLA's new home, an exuberant embrace of Ethiopian food, culture | Where NOLA Eats

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Visiting Addis NOLA, it often felt like the spirit of the place just couldn’t be contained by its four walls. That is the palpable energy that Prince Lobo and his family have brought to the work of showcasing flavors from their Ethiopian heritage in New Orleans.

Newcomers get open-armed greetings like family, food traditions are presented with captivating elan, collaborations have stretched across the culinary scene.







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The dining room has a mix of contemporary and traditional influences at Addis NOLA, the Ethiopian restaurant on Bayou Road in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


Now Addis NOLA has a much bigger setting for all of this, one intended to share its story in different ways and build new connections.

Addis NOLA officially opens at its new location on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 2514 Bayou Road, joining a neighborhood with deep-running history and the growing spark of entrepreneurial revival. A block party on Saturday will serve as a first taste (see details below).







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Doro wot, a deeply-flavored stew with chicken and boiled egg, and mar mitmita shrimp glazed with local honey, at Addis NOLA, the Ethiopian restaurant on Bayou Road in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


“This is where our passion and dedication for making an Ethiopian experience, a true African experience for New Orleans has brought us,” said Lobo, who runs the restaurant with his mother Dr. Biruk Alemayehu and father chef Jaime Lobo.







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The dining room has a mix of contemporary and traditional influences at Addis NOLA, the Ethiopian restaurant on Bayou Road in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


The address had previously been a low-key buffet restaurant called Cajun King, which closed in the pandemic. It has been thoroughly transformed within, with a large bar and a mix of long tables, sofas and lounge chairs and halfmoon-shaped booths. The design, by Nomita Joshi Interior Design and OI Studio, is inspired by the colors and patterns of Ethiopian landscapes and life.







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The coffee ceremony stage at Addis NOLA, the Ethiopian restaurant on Bayou Road in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


One corner by the bar is devoted to a coffee ceremony stage, a designated area for the aromatic ritual of coffee roasting.

This new Addis NOLA is easily twice the size of its previous address down on South Broad Street.







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The dining room has a mix of contemporary and traditional influences at Addis NOLA, the Ethiopian restaurant on Bayou Road in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


But that change is only part of the story.

Collaboration and cocktails

The need for a larger location was spurred by moves Lobo and his family made during the pandemic.







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Biruk Alemayehu and her son Prince Lobo developed a new home for Addis NOLA, their family’s Ethiopian restaurant, on Bayou Road in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


His mother, a professor at Southern University at New Orleans, started the restaurant in 2019. A year later the pandemic up-ended everything. But through the tumult, Lobo pursued collaborations with other restaurants and businesses, striking a tone of solidarity and also introducing more people to his family’s traditional flavors.







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Touré Folkes, founder of Turning Tables, motto specialty cocktails for Addis NOLA, the Ethiopian restaurant on Bayou Road in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


One of those collaborations is on tangible display at new restaurant’s bar. Addis NOLA is working with Turning Tables, the nonprofit started by local bartender Touré Folkes to address racial disparities in the bar business. Students and alumni from the Turning Tables training and mentorship program work at Addis NOLA, and Folkes devised a cocktail list for the restaurant.

“This is about looking to Addis flavors and working with Black-owned spirits brands and wine makers,” Folkes said while mixing a few examples.







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“The Woo” is a martini made with a hint of tej, the Ethiopian honey wine, at Addis NOLA, the restaurant on Bayou Road in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


One martini is dubbed “the Woo,” after Lobo’s penchant to holler his delight at the world with just that expression. It has a hint of tej, the Ethiopian honey wine, for a delicately flavored but potent drink.

Another martini starts with Ethiopian cold brew coffee. The bar has its own version of a Pimm’s Cup, light and refreshing to cut through the spicy dishes, made with a house-made liqueur riffing on the English classic.







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Prince Lobo is known for the exuberance of his greetings and daily affirmations at Addis NOLA, his family’s Ethiopian restaurant on Bayou Road in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


Bayou Road connections

The move to Bayou Road puts Addis NOLA at the fulcrum of a historic corridor with many other Black-owned hospitality businesses and a diversity of other small operators. Lobo said that’s what drew his family to this location.

Others on Bayou Road have been watching with anticipation as the new restaurant took shape. Kelder Summer-Jones is an owner of the Whiskey & Sticks lounge just across from Addis NOLA, and she’s excited for its potential.







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A modern feel and touchpoints to the homeland define the new Addis NOLA, the Ethiopian restaurant on Bayou Road in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


“We are in love,” she said. “We have been waiting for this, it’s really raising the bar and fits with what Bayou Road is. They draw such a diverse group of folks, and I’m just real hopeful that those folks will explore the rest of Bayou Road.”







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Bayou Road has a long history and today is lined with small businesses, including restaurants, shops and lounges. Addis NOLA (right) is the newest. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


Bayou Road runs along a ridge of high ground that was long used by indigenous people and became a pivotal factor in the early development of New Orleans in colonial times. As a portage, it connected the fledging city on the banks of the Mississippi River to Bayou St. John, Lake Pontchartrain and the open Gulf.

Today this brick-paved stretch traces an angled trajectory against the surrounding city grid and is lined with an eclectic mix of businesses.

“We want to be a premier African experience in the South, that’s our goal, and hopefully that supports other businesses here,” said Lobo. “I want people who visit us to feel like if you come to New Orleans you have to come to Bayou Road and be part of this.”

Digging in, hands first







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Doro wot, a deeply-flavored stew with chicken and boiled egg, and mar mitmita shrimp glazed with local honey, at Addis NOLA, the Ethiopian restaurant on Bayou Road in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


The opening menu at Addis NOLA is familiar from the first location and will grow as the restaurant progresses. That includes a range of stir-fry and stew dishes imbued with berberé, a heady blend of garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander and other spices that is a signature flavor of Ethiopian cooking.

Many are served over injera, the bubble-pocked, stretchy, crepe-like flatbread. The essential delivery system for many Ethiopian dishes, injera traditionally takes the place of utensils — you tear up bits of it to get after those meat and vegetarian dishes (that’s why the new restaurant has an elegantly-designed hand washing station right in the dining room ).







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Addis NOLA serves Ethiopian food in New Orleans, including lamb tibs over injera bread.




The house rendition of doro wot show a signature Ethiopian flavors, with chicken, caramelized onion and berbere deeply blended in a thick stew with boiled eggs. The lamb tibs brings a generous spread of juicy chunks of tender lamb between onions and jalapenos and garlic.

There are many vegetable dishes, including a combo plate that brings a striped spectrum of red lentil and green lentils, yellow split peas, collard greens, cabbage and beets.







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The veggie combo at Addis NOLA, an Ethiopian restaurant in Mid-City. Injera bread serves as the traditional utensil.




Some dishes blend local seafood with this traditional approach. The mar mitmita shrimp, for instance are glazed in locally-produced honey, giving an earthy-sweet balance to the chiles and cloves and other spices pulsing through them. Whole red snapper is fried and scored, so you can take chunks of the meaty white fish off the bone with more of the injera, adding spice as you go.







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Whole fried snapper with mitmita seasoning at the Ethiopian restaurant Addis NOLA in New Orleans. (Staff photo by Ian McNulty, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)


The restaurant’s name is drawn from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, which translates to “new flower.”

“Addis means new, so we thought it would signal a new start, a renewal here in New Orleans,” Lobo said. “Things are changing and that’s not going to stop anytime soon. Our goal is to build community and that continues.”

Addis NOLA

2514 Bayou Road, (504) 218-5321

Initial hours: Wed.-Mon. 5-10 pm (brunch and lunch hours to follow)

Before opening, the restaurant is hosting a preview block party, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 5, from 2-5 pm with music, food and pop-ups. The outdoor party is weather-dependent, see updates via instagram.com/addisnola.

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