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South African Chain Nando’s Peri-Peri Makes Houston Its First Texas Destination

Nando’s will open its Texas flagship in Uptown, and a second location in Katy, in early 2023

A plate of Nando’s flame-grilled chicken and a side of rice.
Nando’s flame-grilled chicken and South African fare finally gets a home in Houston.
Greg Powers

Nando’s Peri-Peri will open its first Texas location in Houston next year, and according to the South African restaurant chain, it won’t be the last.

Nando’s is slated to open two outposts in the metropolitan area in spring 2023, including its Texas flagship in Uptown. Located at the southeast corner of Post Oak Boulevard and San Felipe in Post Oak Plaza, the Uptown outpost will seat up to 80-people and will offer custom furniture, an L-shaped patio, and artworks that help make Nando’s collection — reportedly the world’s largest collection of original South African contemporary art on display.

The region’s second location – at Katy’s La Centerra at Cinco Ranch, a commercial hub of retail businesses and restaurants – will follow. Both will promise spicy flame-grilled chicken with various flavors and heat levels, including lemon and herb, medium, garlic, hot, and XXhot, plus two spicy mayo sauces available in original and hot. Other items include the chicken livers — a classic South African dish — salads, rice bowls, and sides, including mashed potatoes, grilled corn, coleslaw, and rice.

Founded in Johannesburg 35 years ago, Nando’s centers on peri-peri, or the African Bird’s Eye chile, which it sources from 1,400 farmers in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and South Africa. Nando’s uses the pepper to make a 24-hour marinade for the restaurant’s flame-grilled chicken and its signature sauces, which are also available for purchase at local stores, like HEB, Central Market, Kroger, Whole Foods, and Walmart.

Nando’s Peri Peri’s bottled sauces.
Sauces at Nando’s Peri-Peri are already available at select grocery stores in Texas.
Nando’s Peri-Peri

Nando’s move to Texas is the chain's first major expansion within the past seven years.

Sepanta Bagherpour, the chief brand officer of Nando’s North America, says Houston was a top spot for Nando’s thanks to its diversity, its “foundation of food offerings,” and its penchant for barbecue and spicy foods.

“There’s a palate (for South African food) in Houston. There’s a great population density, and it’s a hub for future expansion in the states,” Bagherpour says. “It was almost a no-brainer.”

Now, Nando’s exploring locations in Dallas and Austin, Bagherpour says.

The restaurant, which now spans 24 countries, including Australia and Zimbabwe, opened its first restaurant in the United States in Washington, D.C. in 2008, and now has nearly 50 locations throughout D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Chicago.