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More than a year and a half after having filmed its episode of CNBC's “Restaurant Startup,” South African fast casual concept, Peli Peli Kitchen, finally opened on Monday.
Created by Peli Peli founders Paul Friedman, Michael Tran, and Thomas Nguyen, Peli Peli Kitchen will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and focus on American comfort foods that incorporate Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, and Indian flavors. Peli Peli Kitchen's signature item will be "The Peli," peri-peri-infused chicken that is cooked in a rotisserie and deep fried, resembling a South African version of Jamaican jerk chicken. In addition to tacos using naan and brioche sandwiches with a South African twist, Peli Peli Kitchen's menu will also include pork belly, oxtail and prawns.
"Peli Peli Kitchen will allow us to bring our flavors to a broader market and cater to families and those wanting a quick bite," says partner and Executive Chef Paul Friedman. "Our menu will feature easy-to-eat items ranging from $5 to $20, so hopefully it will encourage our guests to dine with us every day."
The journey to Peli Peli Kitchen's opening has been filled with several challenges and delays, especially after being unable to close on their offer with famed Las-Vegas restaurateur, Elizabeth Blau, on CNBC's “Restaurant Startup” (Season 3, Episode 4). Her offer of $1.25 Million still remains the largest offer in Restaurant Startup history. "Her investment would have made it a lot easier for us to develop Peli Peli Kitchen," says Nguyen. "But it is probably best for all parties since it was obvious that she just didn't believe in us."
Local artist Jon Garner, known in the community for his reinterpretations of pop art using stencil work on reclaimed wood, utilized entire walls of the restaurant as his canvas to create murals depicting famous South Africans and an inspiration wall comprised of acts of kindness that have impacted the owners. To maximize the appearance of the artwork, Peli Peli Kitchen will incorporate LED lighting system that is wireless and will allow for complete color and brightness changes.
Peli Peli Kitchen has its own peri-peri-infused sauces with flavors including a signature hot, garlic, guava bbq and spicy orange. Beverages include teas and coffees from Europe and India, as well as local craft beers and private label wines from Stellekaya, a privately owned boutique wine producer situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands in South Africa.
Peli Peli Kitchen is located at in the five-story Gateway at Spring Valley project on the northeast corner of Campbell and Interstate 10 at 9090 Katy Freeway in Texas.