the wait is over
Global favorite South African peri-peri chicken restaurant fires up opening date for first Houston locale
One of this year’s most eagerly anticipated restaurants will make its debut next week. Nando’s Peri-Peri opens Monday, August 7 in the Post Oak Plaza shopping center (1717 Post Oak Blvd.).
Based in South Africa, Nando’s Peri-Peri has earned wide acclaim for its spicy, flame-grilled chicken. Established in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1987, Nando's has grown to hundreds of locations in 24 countries with almost 50 American outposts divided between Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Houston will be the restaurant's third U.S. market with Dallas expected to follow later this year. A second Houston-area location will open in Katy’s LaCenterra development.
Credit for all that success goes to Nando's signature chicken, which it marinates for 24-hours in Peri-Peri and other spices. Also 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.
Diners may order their chicken as bowls made with Portuguese rice and vegetables; the Nandocas Choice, a butterflied chicken breast served over garlic bread with coleslaw; as well as skewers, salads, wraps, and plates with whole pieces. Different spice levels cater to diners’ tolerance for heat.
Beverage options include peach lemonade, sangria, wine, and beer. To cater to the Houston market, Nando’s has added peri mac and cheese and two new frozen cocktails: the Rosalita, made with tequila and mezcal, and passion fruit frose.
Just as much attention has been paid to the restaurant’s design as its menu. Nando’s worked with the Texas-based Michael Hsu Office of Architecture to transform the former Berryhill Baja Grill space at Post Oak Plaza, the shopping center at the corner of Post Oak and San Felipe that’s home to Kenny & Ziggy's, Dallas-based Italian restaurant il Bracco, and others.
Details in the 79-seat main dining room include a ceiling that’s designed to resemble a thatched roof, hand-woven light fixtures, and tiles that are inspired by traditional South African patterns. South African artist Marlise Keith worked with the country’s Spier Arts Academy on a mosaic. A covered, 78-seat patio features yellow planters and a mural designed by artist Bonolo Chepape.
To celebrate its grand opening, Nando’s is giving away free food for a year on August 8, 10, and 11. Houstonians should look for golden cockerels placed in the ground at select locations in the Uptown area. Nando’s will give clues about where to find the item — a reference to the brand’s mascot — by following the restaurant on Instagram and signing up for a newsletter.
“We are so excited to bring the flame, flavor and feel of Nando’s to Houston and Texas, marking our first major market expansion in nearly a decade,” Nando’s CEO John Fisher said in a statement. “Uptown is just the beginning of an exciting journey for us in Greater Houston, and we look forward to becoming an integral part of this cosmopolitan, food and art-centric city.”