Even though Portuguese explorers couldn't pronounce the Swahili name for the African bird's eye chili—pili-pili—the sailors fully embraced its flavor shortly after landing in the region known today as Mozambique. Intrigued by the small, fiery pepper, they combined it with aromatic doses of herbs, garlic, and lemon to create the first peri-peri sauce. That sauce eventually became a wildly popular marinade for poultry, and the tasty concoction made its way to South Africa over the next several centuries. There, in 1987, two friends decided to honor this culinary legacy by founding the first Nando's Peri-Peri restaurant. The eatery continued to remain true to its South African roots, even while expanding to encompass locations in 24 countries across four continents.
Beginning with fresh chickens that never see the inside of a kitchen freezer, the chefs furtively marinate the birds in a secret peri-peri sauce for 24 hours before grilling them over an open flame. Diners dictate the heat level of their order, requesting that the grilled chicken arrive relatively mild or that wings be slathered with even more incendiary spices. The succulent chicken can be plated with hearty side dishes—such as Portuguese-style rice with herbs and peppers or peas with mint—or served in the form of a sandwich, wrap, or pita. To complement the menus' African flavors, Nando's worldwide locations collectively feature more than 4,000 pieces of African artwork.
Inside its modern, brightly colored boutiques, bluberi dispenses swirls of natural, nonfat yogurt and frozen greek yogurt before guests pile on spoonfuls of fresh, fun toppings. Confections in signature handcrafted flavors such as rich matcha green tea (seasonal), bluberi, mango, pomegranate, and original, form sweet peaks in cups, dappled with toppings such as fresh kiwi, chewy cheesecake bites, and coconut flakes. Guests can also opt for custom smoothies with plentiful fruit and yogurt options, or steam-clean eyeglasses with the aromatic vapors of organic, healthful loose-leaf Tavalon teas.
Custom Cake Pops grew out of Ashley Skiles’s search for a simple way to treat her coworkers. They expressed such ardor for the moist, decorative bites that she wrote a resignation letter in frosting and devoted herself to baking full time. At her bakery, she prepares orders of a dozen pops in five flavors, including a Southern-style yellow cake compatible with any of her cream-cheese, fudge, or sweet-cream frostings. Ashley thrills in the decoration of her confections to client specifications. After perching them on lollipop sticks, she might arrange them in a vase with a burst of sprinkles or pastel drizzles of icing.
At both Buffalo Philly's locations, wing-eating patrons can choose to toss succulent wings in their choice of sauces. At the Daniel Stuart Square location 9 sauces line up for duty, and at Smoketown Road up to 12 available sauces stand at the ready—including barbecue, teriyaki, Cajun, and lemon pepper. No matter what sauce is chosen, wings come with a dip-ready side of ranch or blue cheese. As the eatery's name suggests, patrons also frequently stop by for photos with the resident talking buffalo named Phil, or order up one of the chicken or beef Philly cheesesteaks.
Originally built in the 1800s as a hog and dairy farm, the historical Russell House was made over in 1997 as the site of Daks Grill. The flagstone-covered restaurant welcomes guests seven days a week, serving up fresh soups and grilling USDA Choice steaks, such as the 14-ounce new york strip and tender 8-ounce seasoned filet mignon. During the warmer months, diners can enjoy their food on the spacious outdoor patio while keeping an eye on suspiciously bunny-like cloud formations.
Traditional Indian spices flavor the tandoori, curry, and rice dishes served at Masala Magic. In the kitchen, chefs marinate boneless chicken in yogurt before sliding the dish into a clay oven, simmer pieces of lamb in a creamy spice-infused sauce, and dunk homemade cheese cubes into buttery makhani sauce. During the lunchtime buffet, patrons can gather curries, veggies, and mounds of rice to pile onto their plates or pour into the motorcycle helmet they prefer to eat out of.