Friday Food-Nando’s Peri Peri Opens 1st U.S. Restaurant In Washington DC
Posted by jhochstat on July 3, 2008
Yesterday July 3rd Nando’s Peri-Peri, the South Africa based fast food chicken company and hot sauce manufacturer opened their first restaurant in the United States. The restaurant is located at 819 7th Street NW in Washington DC.
The name Nando’s comes from Fernando, the name of one of the founders of the chain – Fernando Duarte. He and a friend, Robert Brozin, bought a restaurant called Chickenland in Rosettenville, near Johannesburg in 1983. This became the first Nando’s restaurant, which incorporated influences by former Portuguese colonists from Mozambique, many of whom had settled on the south-eastern side of Johannesburg. As a result, Nando’s is sometimes still referred to as Nando’s Chickenland.
The first Nando’s opened in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1987 and their first UK restaurant opened in 1992.
Nando’s speciality is legendary. Fresh (never frozen) chicken, marinated for 24 hours to absorb the unique Portuguese PERi-PERi spice then flame-grilled to order. It comes in several flavors: Lemon & Herb, Mango & Lime, Medium, Hot & Extra Hot.
Nando’s have locations in Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Botswana, Canada, Cyprus, Fiji, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, South Africa, Swaziland, the UAE, Uganda, the UK, the USA (Washington, DC) and Zimbabwe.
I first encountered Nando’s chicken when I lived in Cape Town, South Africa from October 1993-April 1994. The Nando’s I first ate at was located in the Victoria & Albert Waterfront in Cape Town. From the first bite, the first day I was hooked.
(Victoria & Albert Waterfront-Cape Town, South Africa)
You can find a copy of the Nando’s (UK) Menu here. Rumor has it they are opening a second DC location near Dupont Circle.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the Peri Peri and Nando’s:
Piri-piri, peri-peri or peli-peli is the name used in the ex-Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola to describe the African bird’s-eye chili. The variations in spelling derive from the various pronunciations of the word in parts of Africa, although “piri-piri” is the correct spelling in Portuguese. Some varieties of birdseye measure up to 175,000 Scoville Heat Units.
In Mozambican cuisine, piri-piri is often used in preparing sauces and marinades for roast and grilled dishes, especially chicken and various fish. Piri-piri is widely used in a vast number of dishes of the Portuguese cuisine.
Nando’s, the Portuguese-themed chicken restaurant originated in South Africa from Portuguese who left Mozambique after the independence in 1975. The chain uses piri-piri in many of its dishes, and helped popularise them worldwide. The company, however, prefers the common South African spelling peri peri on its menus and branded sauces.
I met up with the Nando’s USA folks at the 2007 Fancy Food show and was able to procure a large sample box of everything they sell in regards to sauces, marinades and spice grinders. You can find all of those products here:
If you live in DC, check out the restaurant. If you live in New York City you can find Nando’s hot sauces in Fairway.
I may just give away one of my prized Nando’s T-shirts to a lucky reader who is a diehard foodie…..If you have a great Nando’s Story or experience leave a comment.
You can find my Nando’s story on the Nandoholic’s Blog.