Beejhy Barhany, an Israeli Ethiopian opened Tsion Cafe in 2014 in Harlem's historic Sugar Hill district. Her goal was to bring the Ethiopian and Mediterranean healthy culture and living to the Harlem community because this area was her home. The location of Tsion Cafe is famously known for being Jimmy's Chicken Shack. Back in the 40's, that's where Malcolm X and Redd Foxx were frequently spotted hanging out and where jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker Jr., washed dishes before his big break.
She sees Tsion Cafe as a medley of Ethiopian, Israeli and American cultures. Guests can enjoy these foods,
live music and art of the community when dining at Tsion Cafe.
Three signature dishes that should be enjoyed is the Ethiopian Veggie Combo - Shiro atakilt, red lentil, kik alicha, gomen, beets served with injera; Tsion Eggs - caramelized onions, smoked salmon with injera and Shakshuka - 4 poached organic eggs sauteed with organic tomato, onion, pepper, spices and cilantro with bread.
Inerja comes with a number of the meals at Tsion Cafe, it is made with teff grain, a tiny round grain that is native to Ethiopia, it is also gluten free. The fermentation process takes about 3-5 days. This process is what gives injera its mildly vinegary (sour) taste. At Tsion our injera is made in-house, so it is always fresh.
Teff is rich in protein and contains many essential vitamins and minerals that are good for your digestive system, metabolism and immune system.
The dishes are from recipes that were passed down from her grandmother and mother and live on as a legacy to celebrate them at Tsion. These women influenced and shaped her into the woman she is proud to be today. Due to her global travels, she has added her twist and flavor to these already flavorful dishes.
Beejhy wanted to tell her story. As an Ethiopian-Jewish women in Israel and then the US, the narrative of Judaism did not include the thousands of years of history and cultural relevance that the Ethiopian Jewish community added to the larger story of Judaism. She started a non-for profit that created cultural showcases in the NY tri-state area, encouraging filmmakers and artists to have the opportunity to exhibit their works while promote the cultural heritage of the Ethiopian Jewish community. In doing these regularly, food became a cultural staple at these showcases. The response encouraged her to open the restaurant. It was an important way to showcase her culture in the community, and food is the gateway to learning a new culture.
Guests can enjoy a brand new menu that includes appetizers/bar menu, dinner and brunch which included Falafel. Recently, they introduced new handcrafted spirits to the drink menu. Patrons can enjoy their outdoor patio area while enjoying their meals.
763 St Nicholas Ave
NY, NY 10031