Tina's Ethiopian Cafe at New Location: Her Fans Are Ready, But Is Tina?

Categories: First Taste
TinasWatt.jpg
Tina's house watt combo felt shy with its selection of offerings.
After unexpectedly shutting down her Chandler restaurant in 2008, Tina Tamrat Hildebrand, owner and chef of Tina's Ethiopian Cafe, re-opened her eatery this August at a new location: in a strip mall on the southeast corner of Warner and Cooper roads in Gilbert.
TinasExterior.jpg
The previous sign for a Chinese Bistro still remains at the new Tina's.
Tina's is located in the former home of a Chinese bistro, whose exterior sign still remains; I popped by the new spot for a visit, and judging by the crowd, it was evident she'd been missed. Inside the small, simply decorated eatery (where a laptop played African music videos), tables were filled with families and couples out for an evening of Ethiopian fare, many greeting Tina by name as she darted back and forth from the dining room to the kitchen.

But with the packed house came problems. Un-bussed tables, long waits on food delivery, guests trying desperately to cash out or grabbing their own "napkins" from a paper towel dispenser behind the counter, and several newcomers who, after being asked to wait outside, where the heat and wait time proved to be to much, left in search of other dining options.

My server strongly encouraged my dining companion and me to order the house watt combo -- a platter containing a sampling of Ethiopian spicy vegetable and meat dishes, in the form of thick stews, served atop injera (sourdough flatbread) -- her reason being that any other dish would incur a long wait time.

TinasInterior.jpg
Inside Tina's Ethiopian Cafe.
When it arrived, it was sorely lacking in selection. The server explained that the samplings of grilled beef, and lentil and yellow split pea stews were all that Tina had left, and there wasn't enough for two (I would have preferred this information at the time of ordering). What I did have was tasty, but the selection wasn't diverse enough or large enough to fairly gauge the menu.

Like her fans, I wish Hildebrand and her re-opened Ethiopian Cafe much success. And since it looks like she'll have no problems keeping busy, I'm hoping she'll be able to address issues of service and timing so that admirers old and new can enjoy her Ethiopian cuisine along with an overall pleasurable dining experience.

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Location Info

Tina's Ethiopian Cafe

785 W. Warner Road, Gilbert, AZ

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
215 comments
Bill
Bill

Laura is a DORK

Mike
Mike

I became a big fan of Tina.  I can see why people pick on her; she is amazing and very friendly; Her food is great and the tea is awesome also. Tina, you are doing a good job, keep it under control =D

Jimmy Janga
Jimmy Janga

laura should go back and practice her old folks music in her moms garage.

Jane
Jane

Newtimes sucks!

Linon
Linon

WTF?  what is wrong with you all people? Leave Tina alone.

Mondana
Mondana

Oh My Lord !! Lets focus on the presidential election 

Oliver
Oliver

Tina is sending a message to kiss her A**  to all New Times team.  lol I am loving this girl.

Gabriel
Gabriel

It sounds like New Times was in rush to talk about Tina's. Big deal, all businesses take time to complete their needs as time goes by. you guys need to move one and do something to help our country.  

Doe
Doe

I just realized:  Ethiopian cuisine can market itself as an alternative to all these diet fads.  The more often you eat it, the faster you lose your weight.  Win win for everybody :)

Baba Booey Can't Throw
Baba Booey Can't Throw

Sorry, but restaurants that are open to the public cannot prevent someone from taking and posting photos.  Similar cases were closed on this story years ago.

Attornygim
Attornygim

FOA, I love your restaurant in chandler, glad you are back !  Putting an unauthorized photograph of its customer at a restaurant and on a magazine is considered an infringement of the customer right of publicity. Tina, contact me more any help or advise. I will send you my contact info privately.

Doe
Doe

There is a reason there why there is always famine in Ethiopia: the locals won't eat their own food :) 

Sushie
Sushie

I am planning to eat at Tina's and go to lalibala to use their restroom , hah

rxenergie
rxenergie

If Tina's making money, why doesn't she get that damned "Chinese Bistro" sign down?

Chiken
Chiken

You got it.  My advise,  Laura need to go to be fire for destroying business in America.

Wachinagi
Wachinagi

Yeah, that's it Gabriel.  You're spot on accurate.  This is all the fault of the "New Times"!  What the heck was this so called "author" of this so called "article" thinking?  What kind of moronic Restaurant critic goes around just writting restaurant reviews like this?  It's anarchy I tells ya!  So what if she had a bad experience?  So what if the food wasn't good?  So what if Tina decides to create a few hundered fake commentors and try to pass them off as real individuals who just happen to ALL have the EXACT same spelling errors and grammar errors and love to say the same things like "Your hot on drugs" and spell asshole as "ass hole".  NONE OF THIS MATTERS!  because everyone who read this (According to Tina) makes $12/h and under, and that means that those people CAN'T afford to be eating in restaurants!  The people who "love her" obviously make so much more money.  Everyone who can afford to eat out is already there! That means that she has reached critical mass as it were.  No other customers are needed nor are available.  She has achieved success!  So, she can stop trying now, as she has clearly "won", and since she is so super smart and has such a rosey disposition, and has so much money now that her restaurant is a success and needs nobody to come in, I suggest that she quits cooking to run for office, and do something to help our country!

Tina for President! (of the loony bin chapter of the Royal order of the Distinguished Society of fecal matter slinging grammar challenged yo-yo's)

Kiki
Kiki

be quiet Baba. you think all public restaurant are your daddy's home? why in the world would you want stranger's pic any way? 

Chunk
Chunk

I am from China and love Tina's more than my own cultural food.  I think Tina should sue ;like some one on here mentioned that even though she has no case, believe me, it will cost some money to respond to her  aligation.  The question is sue Laura or New Times? may be both.  I actually think she has a case.

Mom
Mom

Doe, you smell like poop in a soup (lol)

Kaleb
Kaleb

Yes there was a famine in Ethiopia in 1922,  before fatty food was discovered in America

Miko
Miko

There is a reason why American eat too much fatty food ; what is your local American food? Mc.donnalds?

rxenergie
rxenergie

I guess Tina didn't spend any of that 20,000 on a porcelain throne. You're gonna have to use the restroom ASAP after eating at Tina's

David
David

haha good one Sushie

Iloveyou
Iloveyou

you sound like psycho, what is with "..um, wow.."   ? are you high on drug?

Kuku
Kuku

you are a damass, I ate at Tina's last week and mentioned to me, she spent almost 20,000 so far which is equvalent to your yearly salary ha?

Azur
Azur

you are a fuckin dork, its because of that her fans (I am one her fan) started showing up to eat before even her openning day,  and she never got time;  starting this week, she has announced to take two day off so she focuses to finish up getting ready.

Monica
Monica

Yeah ! Tina for president (lol) Bring the Enjera to the white house, I will defiantly  vote for her.  By the way, she is doing great thanks to a good Americans !

#0 Dad
#0 Dad

no wonder why another recession, some looser Americans like you and phoenix new times are putting the country down; they need to be evaluated.  

Melawie
Melawie

Laura Hanefeld should open her cafe and serve her diarrhea soup 

Alex
Alex

there is no more bathroom, you will have to drink your own diarrhea or she will pack it to go for you so you take it to your mom 

Dodo
Dodo

Tina shut down the rest room.  you have to go to lalibala to drop your American diarrhea

rxenergie
rxenergie

Oh, so Tina's making the sign herself? How economical!

Coli
Coli

Yeah, Laura's soup should definitely help. It sounds better than American shitty food, the "duck in the box" i mean  the " jack in the box"

Cocoyoo
Cocoyoo

I constantly constipated and I can't wait Laura's cafe opens up.  American's food twitchs my head due to the neck pain...but try not to twitch around people.

Tvreporter
Tvreporter

It will be funny to find Tina's lost spoon found in her soup (lol)

Oprah
Oprah

hahaha  ....send Charlie Sheen with his Goddess to write a review on her and see if New times post it.

Icanpoop
Icanpoop

very funny Malawie, I like that

fu
fu

yes, she plan to bake the ingera in the toilet so it comes out tasty and and smelly to give it people like you.

rxenergie
rxenergie

She shut it down or uses it as a kitchen?

bob
bob

It almost seems like Lalibala knows that some people are desperate to eat and since they are mad at Tina's or they are closer, they know they will keep going back. hey....Iwant food prepared with love like Tina's.   by the way, Lalibala are best friends with Tina. they work together. watch out 

Adam
Adam

I have eaten at Lalibala, the food was good but you can tell they hate you, the girl almost never give a shit; now ...i am happy and back to Tina.

Gugu
Gugu

now we know your test on your sex style,  is your favorate spot is trash can?

Ilovetina
Ilovetina

she wants to piss of dummies like "rxenergie"

Luna
Luna

Thank you! that was a smart talk.

Therawho
Therawho

Why anybody would get pissed? If a business owner wants to conduct her business 'under the name of Sanders,' it may be strange, but it is her business. 

rxenergie
rxenergie

Sorry, Charlie. $50 for half&half. You do the math. I think Tina should talk to YUM! brands and franchise with her bad attitude and food that looks like sheet. I'll stick to Lalibela for great Ethiopian.

Love me
Love me

Tina has just announced that she will not change the sign! yeeeeeeaaaaa keep it on girl. let them be pissed.  here truble came for lazy people.  cook your own cooscoos

gomby
gomby

you are a whore who makes 12 an hr. why don't you go over and ask her, i am sure she will attach your ass on to your face.

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