Beejhy Barhany, the chef, was born in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. She is shaped by three pivotal incidences in her life. In 1980, when she was 4, her family and almost the entire population of her village fled on foot to the Sudan. She spent four years on a kibbutz tilling the land, an experience that taught her to respect ingredients in their natural state. From there they travelled through Kenya and Uganda, then flown to France and, finally, Israel. Growing up in Israel had a lasting effect on her love of Mediterranean cuisine. Years later, when she left Israel, she travelled throughout the entire South American and Caribbean region, that also influenced her cooking.
At Tsion, our Ethiopian stews betray little tinkering beyond the near melt of slow-cooked onions, garlic and ginger that gives body to every dish, and an ever present shot of berbere, a concatenation of 17 spices, the strongest among them cumin, cardamom and chilli.
Tsion Cafe and Bakery strives to provide our neighbors with healthy, delicious cuisine, fusing Ethiopian and Mediterranean flavors, along with a selection of international wine and beers, fair trade Ethiopian coffees and specialty teas, served with delicious home-baked pastries.
But our commitment to the community extends far beyond the food. Sugar Hill is one of Harlem’s most famous landmarked districts. On the same site as the historic Jimmy’s Chicken Shack, where Malcolm X, Charlie Parkerand Redd F, all worked, Tsion Cafe also celebrate the culture and heritage of Harlem. We are committed to honoring that heritage by providing a space for regular arts events, including live music, poetry nights, film screenings, – and more.