Where do I even start? Way back in 2007, I got introduced to the Teklemariam brothers at The Nile’s original spot on Laurel Street. A big shout-out to Justin Adly for making that connection. The Nile was conveniently close to Empire, which was hands-down one of my fave all time watering holes. So naturally, we would hit up Empire and we’d swing by The Nile to take in the scene.
Now, I grew up as an army brat, traveling all over the globe, but up until then, Richmond didn’t have that international vibe that felt authentic. But The Nile was different. It was like a cultural cocktail. Punks and metalheads from Empire would mix and mingle with folks from all corners of the world and vice versa. Really diverse scene to be a part of back then. Big ups to Mikemetic, whose Afro Beta nights were/are the stuff of legend. You’d see everybody you knew, and conversations would roll into the wee hours.
The Teklemarian brothers—Yoseph, Benyam, and occasionally Natan when he was in town from Ethiopia — were like the cultural glue. They broke down barriers, mixing people from different backgrounds, all while serving up some downright delicious Ethiopian food and back then, stiff drinks. Over the years, I got to know their extended family and am I blessed for it. We still talk/text almost every day, and although I’m bummed that The Nile is closing its physical space, but I am excited for their next chapter.
They’re shifting gears from their Church Hill spot and heading to Hatch Kitchen in South Richmond. According to Yoseph, this has been in the works for a while. They’ve been cooking up their mom’s recipes from day one, and the time is ripe for this new venture.
It’s been nearly two decades. From Laurel Street to West Cary and finally to Church Hill, The Nile has built an incredible brand. And although they’re shutting down the physical space on January 7th, they’re still going to offer catering. They’re also giving us ample time to enjoy one last dine-in experience, especially for those families that have grown up with The Nile.
So yeah, it’s a bittersweet moment, but sometimes timing just aligns. It’s been an unforgettable ride, and I can’t wait to see where The Nile’s journey takes them next.