Addis NOLA is more than a restaurant—it's a celebration of East African culture and heritage. The family-owned establishment offers a truly authentic Ethiopian dining experience. Since its opening in August 2019, Addis NOLA has garnered attention from locals and visitors. Now it has found a new home on Bayou Road—New Orleans' oldest passageway and a bustling hub for Black-owned businesses.
The location puts the eatery at the heart of a thriving community of 13 small businesses and nine Black-owned businesses, highlighting its commitment to Black entrepreneurship. Bayou Road also once served as the epicenter of Black and Indigenous commercial exchange.
“It is the first road that the Chitimacha used to get from Lake Pontchartrain to the Mississippi River. It was the road that the Senegambian West Africans used to come to trade with the indigenous people before colonizers were ever in New Orleans,” says General Manager Prince Lobo, who opened Addis NOLA with his mother/founder Dr. Biruk Alemayehu and father Chef Jaime Lobo.
As for the culinary experience, the new space has allowed for more creativity in the kitchen and an expanded menu. Diners can expect a taste of Ethiopia with the same core menu that has earned the restaurant multiple awards, with dishes such as Sambusas, Tibs and Doro Wot. The menu features a rich array of stews, stir-fry, and specialty dishes that are distinct flavors from Ethiopia.
“Our food is really mainly vegetarian, although we have meat. And that basically forced us to be creative with the menu,” says Dr. Alemayehu.
Vegetarians and vegans will find a bountiful selection of sumptuous dishes including red lentils, collard greens, cabbage, beets, green lentils, yellow split peas and shiro. You can also indulge in mushroom tibs and the veggie combo. All dishes come with a choice of rice or injera—a fermented pancake-like flatbread that's stretchy and takes almost three days to make.
“Our food also is purely vegetated, purely gluten-free,” explains Dr. Alemayehu.
The space also highlights Black-owned spirits and craft beer, with the full bar offering local favorites like Cajun Fire Brewing Company, Zony Mash Beer Project and Seven Three Distilling Company. Additionally, the restaurant offers house-made spiced teas, watermelon lemonade and ginger mint iced tea.
There is a strong sense of pride to be in such a historically impactful location, as part of the Black Business Corridor and New Orleans' oldest passageway, which is home to a variety of Black-owned and Afro-Caribbean restaurants, shops, and businesses, transporting visitors back and forth between history and modern day.
"Addis NOLA is an establishment that represents un-colonized cuisine, unaltered Black culture from thousands of years ago that tells the story of royalty, kings, queens, and nobles that were all Black people now in a city that is predominantly Black," says Lobo.
Addis NOLA being part of Bayou Road is a testament to the family's labor of love and their vision to continue building the community while allowing for exciting changes and growth.