Addis Ethiopian Restaurant is a family owned establishment that opened up on Broad Street back in April 2019. Serving authentic dishes with wide array of options from vegetarian to lamb, Addis Nola is one of only a few Ethiopian restaurants in New Orleans. Last week, we spoke with Prince Lobo of Addis NOLA to learn more about how they’re paving the way for Ethiopian cuisine in the city, how they’ve adapted to COVID-19 through creativity and collaboration and advice to young entrepreneurs on following your dreams and believing in yourself.
How did you and your family get started?
Addis Nola was a brainchild of my mother’s, Biruk Alemayehu. After spending a good period of time in Louisiana, ultimately completing her PHD in Baton Rouge in 2008 and moving to New Orleans, she began to realize the lack of African representation in the restaurant scene, specifically that of Ethiopian cuisine. She wanted to take her experiences and love of cooking and make something happen. Within no time, we had a lease signed and began to bring our vision to life. We brought in a head chef from Desta Ethiopian Kitchen to help with training and building out our menu. We wanted to make sure everything was in place and our staff was well versed on the food we were serving up.
Favorite thing about living and working in NOLA?
Every day is something. New Orleans is one of the greatest hospitality industries in the world. There’s so much work to do and learn, especially being a newer restaurant. We are always keeping our eyes and ears open and trying to stay connected. For us, it’s about building community and leaving an impact.
Keys to survival during this time?
Consistency is key. Early on, we changed our system to be catered more towards takeout. For those dining in, we set up a reservation system in order to offer the best possible experience. We want to ensure both our staff and our guests are prepared and that we are providing a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.
Ways business operations may have adapted due to COVID-19?
Recently, we’ve done collaborations with restaurants like Turkey and the Wolf and Beaucoup Eats. We’ve also started Vegan Monday’s at the restaurant with items like Mushroom Tibs & Sweet Potato Wot. It’s so important to be innovative during this time period. It’s all about creativity and collaboration for the community and in the name of the people.
Advice to young entrepreneurs?
Just do it—stop analyzing. Don’t leave room for doubt and know that while it may seem important to get others perspectives and buy-in, it’s more important to trust your gut and believe in your ideas.