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Detroit’s first East African restaurant celebrates grand opening in New Center, receives $50,000 from Motor City Match

Apr 1, 2021

    • Baobab Fare now open for in-person dining and carryout
    • Motor City Match (MCM) Round 12 cash grant awardee of $50,000
    • East African restaurant, market and juice bar among several Black- and female-owned businesses receiving support from MCM, City of Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC)

DETROIT (April 1, 2021) – Baobab Fare, Detroit’s first East African restaurant, celebrated its grand opening today with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Owners Nadia Nijimbere and Hamissi Mamba were joined by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and various other community and philanthropic leaders.

Located at 6568 Woodward Avenue in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood, Baobab Fare is a MCM Round 12 cash awardee of $50,000. The restaurant also serves as a market and juice bar that offers an array of prepared menu items, groceries and other retail products from East Africa.

“We are proud to open our doors and bring East African cuisine and culture to our community,” said Mamba. “Baobab Fare is more than a restaurant; it is a gathering place where all are welcomed and embraced. Detroit is our new home.”

Baobab Fare is owned and operated by Nadia Nijimbere and Hamissi Mamba, a wife and husband team, who fled Burundi for Michigan in 2014 to start a new life. While living in Detroit’s Freedom House, a temporary home for indigent survivors of persecution seeking asylum from around the world, the couple came up with the idea to open a restaurant, juice bar and East African market that would also serve as a safe space for other immigrants and Detroiters alike.

Some of Baobab Fare’s employees are friends met at Freedom House. Baobab Fare has been active in the community leading up to the opening by providing meals to frontline workers during the pandemic.

“I am thrilled to welcome Detroit’s first East African restaurant, Baobab Fare to New Center,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Mamba and Nadia’s journey from Burundi to Detroit is truly inspiring and highlights the great opportunity and support available to Detroit entrepreneurs of all backgrounds through the Motor City Match program.”

Baobab Fare is one of 116 open MCM businesses that have received support from the program. Of those businesses, 81 percent are minority-owned, 71 percent are women-owned and 64 percent are owned by Detroit residents. The program continues to have a large and positive impact on Detroit’s small business community, including:

  • 22 more MCM businesses are expected to open in 2021
  • More than 1,000 jobs have been created as a result of open MCM businesses
  • $9.5 million has been awarded in cash grants through MCM and Motor City Re-Store, which has leveraged $44.1M in additional investment into Detroit’s neighborhoods
  • Over 300 additional businesses that are open and operating as home-based, mobile and ecommerce businesses have been launched with the help of MCM

“Motor City Match has had a tremendous impact on Detroit,” said DEGC President and CEO Kevin Johnson. “More Detroiters are on a path to economic mobility, have been given a chance to pursue their passions, and have access to goods and services in their neighborhoods. Moving forward we will use what has been learned to create even stronger support for Detroit’s small business community – the heartbeat of our City.”

Baobab Fare has also received grants and other assistance from Hatch Detroit Midtown Detroit, Inc. and ProsperUs. Open 7 days a week, Baobab Fare’s menu offers a variety of East African dishes, Burundi coffee, fruit juice and hot sauce. For more information, please visit baobabfare.com.

About Motor City Match
Motor City Match is a unique partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Competitive financial assistance is supported by a broad partnership of Southeast Michigan community development financial institutions and corporations. Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is a non-profit organization that serves as the lead implementing agency for business retention, attraction and economic development initiatives in Detroit.

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