Detroit-Based East African Restaurant Baobab Fare Finalist for Top US Restaurateur Award

The owners of Baobab Fare, an East African eatery in Detroit, have been announced as finalists for this year’s prestigious James Beard Chef and Chefs Awards. Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere, who fled Burundi as refugees and faced numerous challenges upon arriving in the United States, have turned their dream of owning a restaurant into a reality.

Baobab Fare, known for its delicious dishes such as flash-fried fish, eggplant stew, and slow-roasted goat shank, has quickly become a popular spot in Detroit. The restaurant, which started as a pop-up in 2017 and expanded to a full-fledged eatery in 2021, has recently acquired a second location in the city.

Being nominated as finalists for the Outstanding Restaurateur category at the James Beard Awards is a significant achievement for Mamba and Nijimbere. They view their restaurant not only as a business but also as a community hub, employing fellow refugees and inspiring others in similar situations.

The James Beard Awards, often referred to as the Oscars of the culinary world, will honour restaurants and chefs in 22 categories at a ceremony in Chicago. For Mamba and Nijimbere, just being finalists is already a win, as it showcases their hard work and dedication to creating a welcoming space for all.