NoJa: Our Humble Beginnings

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The great things in life worth having come from perseverance and a dedication to excellence. That is exactly the idea behind the birth of NoJa. The longest running restaurant in the heart of Mobile is a success in part to the trials chef and owner, Chakli Diggs, put into it.
Master Chef Diggs’ humble beginning started in Ethiopia where, believe it or not, he first trained to be a fighter pilot. Through many different experiences in his life, he decided that the culture of Ethiopia and its love of food was his love as well. Chakli has traveled all over the world to experience many types of cuisine and is fluent in several languages. This experience has brought to Mobilians the unique taste of the “MediterrAsian” food we love so much from NoJa.
It may seem peculiar the way an Ethiopian fighter pilot wandered into Mobile, Alabama, but his sister was actually the first to settle here. When Diggs attended college at Michigan State University, he would come visit his sister in Mobile during his breaks. At first, Mobile seemed a bit too quiet and small. When his mother had become ill, Chakli knew he needed to move here to be with her. He has made Mobile his home since 1991.
NoJa is not the first restaurant Chef Diggs has ever opened. Although, to Mobilians, it may be the most desired on their list. Regarding the opening of this restaurant, his business vision was to mentor other people in his place that can step in and conduct business as usual. This, as many can attest to, has made his business flourish.
With NoJa’s rising success in the past years, it has seen patrons like Dan Marino, Secretary of the Navy; Oscar-winning actor Robert DeNiro; local attorneys Dean Waite and David J. Maloney; and our very own mayor of Mobile, AL, Sandy Stimpson, as well as hundreds of other prominent entertainers and local business owners in Alabama.
Chakli Diggs brought a new cultural cuisine to the City of Mobile that many had never eaten before. His attention to detail and unique flavor combinations makes his career in the food industry one Mobilians will not soon forget.
For an intimate meal in one of the Port City’s longest-running restaurants in Downtown Mobile, make a reservation to Noja. We have both indoor and outdoor seating in a secluded area, just steps from Dauphin Street in LODA at 6 N. Jackson Street. To reserve a table now, call 251-433-0377. Learn more about our cuisine and offerings at www.nojamobile.com or on our Facebook page.
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