A South Africa-based restaurant that's well-loved for its spicy, flame-grilled chicken is coming to Houston. Nando's Peri-Peri will open its first Texas location in the Post Oak Plaza shopping center next spring.
Established in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1987, Nando's has grown to hundreds of locations in 24 countries with almost 50 American outposts 50 divided between Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Houston will be the restaurant's third U.S. market, and its first major expansion in more than seven years, according to a release.
Credit for all that success goes to Nando's signature chicken, which it marinates for 24-hours in Peri-Peri, which is also known as African Bird's Eye Chili; Nando's sources its peppers from 1,400 local farmers in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and South Africa.
The restaurant serves its grilled chicken in a variety of forms, from plates of whole pieces and skewers to salads, wraps, and sandwiches. Different spice levels allow diners to get just the right amount of heat. Sides such as fries, grilled corn-on-the-cob, mashed potatoes, and Macho Peas, a version of English-style mushy peas, round out the offerings.
"Though it's flame-roasted with a gas fire, the chicken had a deep smoky essence that reminded me of the very best charcoal-roasted birds," critic Michael Nagrant wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times in 2015. "And the skin! Crisp, mahogany and flecked with pepper, I'd eat a plate of it alone."
For its first Texas location, Nando's selected a former Berryhill Baja Grill space at Post Oak Plaza, the shopping center at the corner of Post Oak and San Felipe that recently became home to Kenny & Ziggy's and will welcome Dallas-based Italian restaurant il Bracco next month. Nando's has also leased a space in Cinco Ranch that will open shortly after the Galleria-area location.
Texas's Michael Hsu Office of Architecture will design the 3,200-square-foot space, which is expected to seat 80 people. Design elements will include an L-shaped patio, custom furniture, and pieces from the restaurant's collection of contemporary South African art.
“Our authentic flavors were born in South Africa but are built for Houston," Nando's USA CEO John Fisher said in a statement. "We can’t wait to welcome Nando’s newcomers and loyalists who have long lobbied for us to come to Texas and to this fast-growing city known for its incredible diversity and culinary scene.”