Skip to content

Find family-style Ethiopian at Nile Grocery

Tom Hanchett

Tsige Meshesha shows off spices and other ingredients for sale at Nile Grocery.
Tsige Meshesha shows off spices and other ingredients for sale at Nile Grocery.

In an unassuming East Charlotte shopping strip, tucked in the back of a mom-and-pop grocery store, you can find a most welcoming Ethiopian eating experience.

When Tsige Meshesha emigrated to Charlotte, her son Nolawi was just four years old. “I baked injera bread to sell to our Ethiopian community,” she remembers, “so I could stay home with my son.” Husband Zerabruk Abay, a textile engineer, hoped for work in this longtime textile manufacturing region but found mills closing. So the couple opened Nile Grocery in 2005.

While the market keeps regular hours, you must call or drop by a day ahead to schedule a meal. Place your order from a small menu of Ethiopian favorites and Meshesha will prepare a memorable feast. Among her specialties:
Doro wat, a thick smoky stew with chicken legs and hard boiled eggs.
Beef tibs: sauteed meat in broth with colorful tomato, onion and jalapeno slivers.
Stewed lentils with Ethiopia’s distinctive deep red berber spice.
Cooked greens that mix collards, mustard greens and spinach.

Tsige dollops everything onto one big plate of injera bread. Then you grab small pieces of injera and scoop away — no forks or spoons unless you request.

Nile-4With just four booths and a couple of tables, it feels like eating at home. You might see Nolawi dropping by on a visit home from East Carolina University. Or son Christian and schoolmates studying homework for South Charlotte Middle School. Or a Somali neighbor sitting down for a cup of coffee. Posters near the door note community events at Charlotte’s small Ethiopian Orthodox Church which meets a mile or so up Sharon Amity.

Be sure to ask for coffee afterward. Tsige lights incense and wafts fresh-roasted coffee beans, then pours from a traditional jebena clay jug. A wedge of slightly sweet ambasha bread, plus a basket filled with crisp popcorn, encourage you to linger, nibble and chat.

“That is part of our culture,” Tsige says. “Even if you are not family, we treat you as one.”

 Nile Grocery and Café
Monday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
3113 N. Sharon Amity Rd. near Albemarle Rd.
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 531-6221



Center City & nearby
Carolina apple cider
Indian street food
Greens from South Carolina
Upstate NY Italian sausage
Swiss-German bakery
Blackberry memories of Brooklyn
Puerto Rican kabobs
South Boulevard, South Tryon & southward
Mexico + Greece = holiday treats
Cuban box pig
Snack foods from India
SC meets Vietnam
Little corner of El Salvador
Arepas from Venezuela
Indian sweets for Diwali
Colombian soup
Korean at China Wing
Indian food in south Charlotte
Mexican take-out
Mexican Tamaleria
Fort Mill — real Chinese
Ready for Laotian food in Charlotte?
Psst! There’s a European Market hidden just south of Ballantyne
Independence Boulevard, Monroe Road & environs
Nigeria in east Charlotte
Korean BBQ
Brazilian bakery
Secret Greek grocery
Colombian BBQ & snacks
Detroit hot dogs
New York bagels
Halal Latino
Russian-Turkish Grocery
Iran Kabobs in Matthews
Ramen in Matthews
Russian picnic fare
Armenia in Matthews
Katayef – holiday dessert at Pita Kabab in Matthews
Crispy NJ pizza comes to east Charlotte
Central Av, Albemarle Road & vicinity
Family-style Ethiopian
Dominican street food
Jamaican black cake
Somali stew and sides
Schawarma from Jerusalem
Oriental buns
Greek pastries
Bosnian sausages
‘Tis the Season for Champurrado
Latino bakery feeds a region
Taste Monterrey, Mexico
Tamales in Plaza Midwood
One restaurant, three Latino traditions
Guatamala in east Charlotte
Mexican Seafood
You buy – We fry
Dominican Deli
French/Vietnamese pastry arrives in east Charlotte

North Tryon, UNCC area & northward
Asian Moon Cakes
Mexican carnitas
Beef on Weck from Buffalo
Dominican fruit shakes, pressed subs
Mexican ice cream
Louisiana Viet crawfish
Salvadoran comfort food
NYC pastries – Lake Norman
Vegetarian eats from south India
Indian Dosa Night
Middle East via Lynx
Bahn Mi Brothers
Ethiopian sandwiches
Turkish near UNCC
BBQ from Pakistan
Find a taste of Hyderabad at Nawabs Kebabs
The Patio at Our Lady of Guadalupe
NC fish camps
Fried baloney
Grits & cornmeal
El Tamarindo
Laos in Kings Mountain
Lawrence Caribbean
Multiple Places & Food Trucks
5 eateries for Black History Month
Charlotte’s International food scene
South’s Love Affair with Soft Drinks
5 Places to “Eat Northern”
Northern Favorites: Six More Eateries
Curry journey: Vietnam, Trinidad, India
Spiedies – Food Truck
5 best bites on Albemarle Road
Lao Sausages – Food Truck
Western Indian – Food Truck
Himalayan flavors – Food Truck
Shaved ice goes global in Charlotte