Don’t judge a restaurant by it’s exterior. While Gojo looks modest from the outside, don’t let that fool you. You definitely want to go inside for a flavorful feast. Park in the back and walk around to the front entrance and get ready for one of the best buffets in Nashville*.

We came across this gem with a simple “vegetarian near me” Google search on our way to pick up my cousin from the airport (apparently airline tickets where $200 cheaper than flying into Birmingham, and we didn’t mind the drive). We also needed something fast, because we only had a few hours until Kenton was due for class…in Birmingham.

So, we lucked out with a lunch buffet. None of us had ever had an Ethiopian meal before, so we were eager to try something new. The road there was unassuming enough–mostly commercial and warehouse properties with the occasional oil change place or fast-food restaurant.

Mesob basket

Mesob basket decoration: a traditional Ethiopian table-like basket with lid. Gojo mostly uses Western-style tables.

When we approached the buffet line, we were welcomed by sweetly spicy aromas coming from the colorful dishes. What stuck out to me first, though, were these spongy looking rolls that looked like grey pancakes. I detest pancakes

Gojo Buffet Veggie Plate

Gojo Buffet Veggie Plate

in general (though you’ll likely witness some contradictions in the future of this blog), but I grabbed one to try, because their prominent placement in the buffet lead me to believe they were important. And I vaguely remembered that something like this was often used in lieu of a utensil. I am SO GLAD I didn’t skip this. The flavor was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted, and using pieces of the (what I now know to be) injera to pick up the morsels of food was, put simply, magical. Injera is a bit sourdoughy in flavor, and that’s because it is made using fermented teff, a grain traditionally grown in Ethiopia. I HAVE to make this one day. Anyway, the other dishes were absolutely delicious, and the ones that especially come to mind are what you see pictured here with the rice and injera:

  • Kik aletcha (yellow split peas cooked to perfection with a blend of onion, garlic, and ginger)
  • Tikle Gomen (sauteed cabbage)
  • Miser W’et (split lentils in a house-blend of spices and hot pepper)

I’m not even going to tell you how many times I revisited that line, but I will tell you that Ethiopia is now in our top 3 places to visit in the near future. Apparently the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is super vegetarian friendly and even prescribes vegetarianism on certain days (namely Wednesdays and Fridays).

*Just because I’ve only been to one buffet in Nashville, the food is just THAT GOOD I’m confident this is true. Take my word for it.