Valentine’s Day is the busiest day for Nefetari’s, which specializes in international cuisine and has an array of selections for meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans that are cooked to order.
Dinner packages, which start at $20 per person, include options for a three-course meal, and some of the items on the menu include salmon with mixed rice pilaf, broccoli stir-fry and vegan chocolate cake.
Nefetari Dennard, Nefetari’s executive chef, said the restaurant’s menu is very extensive to satisfy a full range of appetites.
“The biggest difference in Nefetari’s Fine Cuisine compared to other vegan and vegetarian restaurants is that we have a variety of dishes from around the world served in authentic rich sauces and spices made in house,” Dennard said.
Nefetari’s exotic menu was brought to life by the diverse kitchen staff, which include sa vegan chef from the island of Antigua who prepares all vegan meals.
Some of the patrons’ favorite dishes include the Ethiopian stew dish, Greek red snapper, chef-prepared Thai spring rolls and Mediterranean hummus.
Trishay Bryant, a Florida A&M alumna from Sarasota, Fla., frequents Nefetari’s. She said she loves the variety of foods it has to offer.
“I’m a vegan, so finding food that fits my needs in a college town can be difficult,” Bryant said. “I love how health-conscious this restaurant is. It also gives the community the health start it needs by offering foods that are organic, locally grown and prepared fresh. Nefetari’s offers things that you wouldn’t usually eat on a regular basis.”
Owners Dana Dennard and Sharon Ames-Dennard founded the restaurant in August. Both are clinical psychologists and former professors at FAMU.
Since its opening, Nefetari’s has continued to offer customers “a royal experience” when they walk into the doors of the establishment. Mrs. Dennard said the restaurant’s environment is meant to be aesthetically soothing and refreshing.
“Eating with people is supposed to be a pleasing experience,” she said. “Everyone is quick to pick up their phone and text while at the dinner table. It’s proven that physical health is tied to mental health, and food has the power to alter moods, so we wanted to create an environment that was filled with peace and bliss. All distractions had to go out of the window.”
Nefetari’s Egyptian-themed atmosphere is the most distinctive element of the establishment. It also has a queen’s table, which is inspired by Queen Nefetari. The table is garnished with gold-plated dinnerware and cups. The table also has an exact replica of King Tut and Queen Sitamun’s thrones. Patrons can reserve the table between restaurant hours.
Nefetari’s also offers The Fuzzy Boutique, a store with handcrafted items and clothing made by the owners’ daughter, Nefetari. Other features include the gallery, which contains historical books, and the Lotus Room, a space that can be used for private events.
Aside from being a fine dining establishment, the restaurant also holds community events every month. Wine Down Wednesday offers wine and dessert tasting every Wednesday, and every first Monday, Networking With Neighbors, a professional business social, takes place.