Chillin’ on the Nile

Amie Lucas

Photo By Tom Angel

Amie Lucas and her fiancé Sanjay Deepchandani have added something new to the normal aroma that fills local coffee houses in Chico. Café Nile is a restaurant, Internet café and hookah lounge located at 243 W. 9th St. Little Chico Creek flows past the back of the restaurant, creating a calming, soothing atmosphere for its patrons. On the back patio people can smoke cigarettes, cigars or flavored tobacco from the hookahs, which are provided by the owners. Cherry, pineapple and vanilla are only a few of the 15 flavors offered at Café Nile. We recently talked with Lucas about the restaurant.

What is a hookah lounge?

A hookah is a water pipe where flavored tobacco is put into a bowl at the top of the hookah and filtered through water at the bottom. We put foil over the tobacco and then hot coals on top, which gives you a cleaner, lighter smoking experience. There is no tar or additives in our tobacco, and there is only 0.5 percent nicotine, [whereas] a cigarette has about 2 percent. The hookahs also all have their own mouthpieces, for sanitary reasons.

Have you always been interested in the hookah?

No, I’m not a smoker, I’m a cougher! We went to one in Sacramento and fell in love with it. It was really popular and right next to the college area.

How much are the hookahs?

Its $7 for a load that lasts about 45 minutes for four people, so if there is only one or two people it will last you a good hour and a half.

What made you decide to open the café?

I always really wanted a coffee shop, but if we were just a coffee shop we would be just another coffee shop on the corner, so we decided to do the hookah lounge also. Our partners are also East Indian; it is etiquette in that culture to drink tea and smoke from a hookah after eating.

How did you decide on the name Café Nile?

I actually saw the saying ‘Chillin’ on the Nile’ somewhere, and we all kind of fell in love with it. We have the whole Egyptian theme, so we finally decided on Café Nile. We also have the creek right here; although it’s not the Nile, it still works.

Have you seen a wide variety of people coming in here?

Yes, we have seen lots of college students and also older people. An older couple was in here last week, and the woman said she wasn’t inhaling, but she really liked the taste of the tobacco on her lips.