Nile Ethiopian Restaurant has closed

Nile Ethiopian Restaurant, 89 2nd St #2, Coralville. Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. — Emma McClatchey/Little Village

Nile Ethiopian Restaurant in Coralville has closed for business. For weeks, the doors have been locked on the two-year-old restaurant, and now its Facebook page lists Nile as “Permanently Closed.”

When Nile opened in 2017, Little Village reviewer Helania Thompson wrote, “ ‘Finally’ seems to be the most frequently expressed response to the recent opening of Nile, an Ethiopian restaurant just off the Coralville strip.” The Iowa City area had been lacking in Ethiopian food, and the new restaurant quickly became a favorite of those who know and love the cuisine.

Nile also introduced a lot of Iowa Citians to Ethiopian food, and even provided a helpful guide, “How to Eat Ethiopian Food,” for newcomers baffled by the lack of utensils. (Ethiopian-style dining traditionally uses injera, a fermented flatbread, torn off by hand, to scoop up food instead of a knife and fork.)

Thompson, like others who dined at Nile, praised both its food and service.

Nile Ethiopian Restaurant — Helaina Thompson/Little Village

Kiya Sultan, who grew up in Iowa City, opened Nile after spending several years working at his uncle’s Ethiopian restaurant in Minneapolis. The West High graduate was also inspired by the example of his mother, who he used to watch in the kitchen while growing up.

“I like just talking to customers, getting their feedback. All the love we’re getting from the neighborhood — it gives you motivation to work hard,” Sultan told the Gazette a month after the restaurant opened.

Little Village readers voted Nile “Best African Cuisine” in the 2019 Best of the CRANDIC competition.