The Metro: Baobab Fare co-owner talks 2024 James Beard nomination, plans to expand in Detroit

Nadia Nijimbere joined the show to discuss Baobab Fare’s upcoming second location on Detroit’s east side, and the news of their James Beard nomination.

Baobab Fare Co-owners Nadia Nijimbere (left) and Hamissi Mamba.

Baobab Fare Co-owners Nadia Nijimbere (left) and Hamissi Mamba.

When Baobab Fare opened its doors in 2021, it quickly became a favorite restaurant of many. The Burundi-inspired restaurant offers dishes that are flavorful in a place that is inviting and cozy. 

Co-owners Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere recently purchased property at Grayton and Cadieux on East Warren Avenue in Detroit. It will be Baobab Fare’s second location in the city. 

Nijimbere joined The Metro on Wednesday to discuss the coming restaurant. She says the new location will have a similar menu, but a larger kitchen will allow for some new dishes. More space will also allow for events and hosting larger groups of people. 

“That particular space, it has a big story for us. It’s the space that needs, I will say it needed us. There is not many restaurants there and that community is together,” she said. “We had a lot of inquiries including Ann Arbor and we chose to stay in Detroit.”

Now people on the east side will be a little closer to Baobab Fare’s award winning food. The restaurant was named among Eater’s best new restaurants in America in 2021, and was named the No. 1 Best New Restaurant on the Detroit Free Press 10 Best New Restaurants list in 2022, among other accolades.

The awards and honors keep coming too. This week, Baobab Fare was named a finalist for the 2024 James Beard Award for outstanding restaurateur. The awards recognize the best restaurants and chefs in the U.S. They received Best Chefs nominations the past two years.

“We are so happy for our community. Being an outstanding restauranteur, that means what we do everybody sees, they not only like the food, they even like what we do in the community, our staff, the service, everything,” Nijimbere said. “We are so grateful. We are so grateful and happy.”

More headlines from The Metro on April 3, 2024: 

  • Local activist, poet and writer John Sinclair died on Tuesday at the age of 82. We revisited a conversation WDET’s Ann Delisi had with Sinclair in 2016 about his life and activism.  
  • The Best of the Best: Jazz from Detroit” is making its premiere at the Detroit Free Press Film Festival this month. Mark Stryker, co-producer and author of the book the documentary is based on, joined the show to discuss the film, which traces the history of jazz in Detroit.
  • The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House is getting ready for a busy summer. Tommy Karr, director of communications and engagement at Ford House, joined the show to discuss the home’s history and their summer concert series that was recently announced. 
  • Paul Gross is a local meteorologist who worked at WDIV for more than 30 years. He told WDET’s Pat Batcheller that the biggest advancement in weather forecasting in the last half-century is the Doppler radar.

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