Nando’s PERi-PERi, the beloved South African restaurant brand recognized around the world for its spicy flame-grilled chicken, today announced its first new major market expansion in more than seven years. Plans call for the spring 2023 opening of a pair of initial Houston-area restaurants – Post Oak Plaza in Uptown, and La Centerra in Katy – in advance of future expansion throughout Texas.
“Our authentic flavors were born in South Africa but are built for Houston. We can’t wait to welcome Nando’s newcomers, and loyalists who have long lobbied for us to come to Texas, to this fast-growing city known for its incredible diversity and culinary scene,” says John Fisher, CEO of Nando’s PERi-PERi USA.
The company’s journey from the tip of Africa to the heart of Texas, which began 35 years ago with a single location in Johannesburg, now spans 24 nations from Australia to Zimbabwe. Landing stateside in 2008 with its inaugural US restaurant in Washington, DC, the brand has since expanded to nearly 50 sites in DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Chicago.
Nando’s flagship Texas location is headed for a prime Uptown site at the LEVCOR lifestyle center at Houston’s Post Oak Plaza. The 3,200-square-foot space is being completely reimagined by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture. Slated to fire up in spring 2023, Nando’s Uptown will be followed in quick succession by Nando’s Cinco Ranch in Katy.
The concept’s popularity can be traced to PERi-PERi – or African Bird’s Eye Chilli – the heart and soul of the Nando’s experience. “We marinate our chicken in PERi-PERi for at least 24-hours, so the flavor goes right through to the bone,” Fisher explains. “Then we grill it over an open flame and baste it with PERi-PERi sauce to the customer’s preferred spice level. That’s what makes our chicken so addictive.”
Nando’s sources all its PERi-PERi through 1,400 local farmers in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and South Africa who are empowered with upfront access to funds, equipment, and seedlings as well as a guaranteed commitment by the company to buy the farmers’ crops at a fair price determined before the growing season even starts.
Nando’s intensely loyal following has not only been driven by its high-quality food, but also its friendly service presented in a relaxed atmosphere that elevates the typical fine-fast casual experience. Every Nando’s location is uniquely designed with earthy textures and vibrant colors that reflect its sunny African heritage while retaining a sense of place in which it lives and breathes.
The restaurant’s first-ever Texas iteration in the Uptown District will be no exception. Nando’s has the world’s largest collection of original South African contemporary art on display, and the 80-seat interior will be the beneficiary of many wonderful examples of those pieces, along with custom-made furniture and lighting.