Continuing on their path to grow their impact in metro Detroit’s food scene, the founders of the Eater Award-winning Baobab Fare are launching a new food truck venture. Waka, which means shine, will be serving traditional east African street food, the restaurant’s popular bottled Ji passionfruit juice, and merch starting this Saturday, December 3, at Noel Night in the city’s Cultural Center.
Waka will be available for catering and parties, as well as at some of the many food truck rallies that take place downtown. During Noel Night, which took a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the truck will serve chapati (a flatbread traditional to Burundi), 32-ounce bottles of Ji, and limited-edition prints. Aldo Dominguez of the Salpicon Food Trucks fabrication firm in southwest Detroit custom-built the truck.
The launch of the food truck is just the latest effort by Baobab Fare founders Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere to expand their business’s footprint.
The restaurant also announced this week it’s launched a collaboration with Seasons Market to sell a limited line of grab-and-go meals in the Midtown shop’s prepared food section. The store and cafe opened earlier this year and emphasizes stocking its shelves with locally-made products.
The husband and wife team have also begun working with Lanovara Food Distributors, a Rochester, New York-based firm to manufacture its retail juice and a new line of hot sauce, Pili, sold in glass jars. They also sell bags of coffee beans sourced from farmers in Burundi and roasted in Detroit in the restaurant. Some or all of these products are already sold in several retail locations in metro Detroit, including, Mongers Provisions, Folk, DeVries & Co. in Eastern Market, Warda Patisserie, Marcus Market, Western Market in Ferndale, and both of Meijer’s small-scale locations, Rivertown and Woodward Corner markets in Detroit and Royal Oak respectively.