South African-inspired restaurant Peli Peli set for Austin debut in 2017

Houston-based Peli Peli is set to bring South African flavors to the Second Street District next year.

Houston-based Peli Peli is set to bring South African flavors to the Second Street District next year.

A South African-inspired concept is arriving in Austin’s Second Street District in 2017.

Thomas Nguyen, Michael Tran and Chef Paul Friedman will open Peli Peli, a Houston-based restaurant, in late spring. The restaurant, located at 211 W. Third St., Austin, will replace Cantina Laredo, which shuttered in July.

“The concept is going to try and bring South African cuisine to the masses,” said Nguyen, who is the chief managing officer. “What we have done is incorporated American cuisine in it.”

Friedman hails from South Africa and used his mother’s recipes to create the menu. Nguyen said Friedman visits South Africa every year to make sure the restaurant's offerings continue to reflect the country’s cuisine.

The company opened its first location in Houston in 2009. Houston’s two Peli Peli locations will be soon joined by a third in Katy, Nguyen said.

The restaurant’s most popular item is the Espetada ($38), which means “meat on a stick” in Portuguese and features beef, Nguyen said. The menu also features an English-style dessert called Sticky Toffee Pudding ($12).

Construction on the 6,000-square-foot space will begin in the spring, and the interior will feature a unique ambience, Nguyen said.

“It will be an interior no one’s ever done before,” Nguyen said. “I want people to get excited because we are very much going to be a dining destination.”


Pizza restaurant Due Forni, 106, E. Sixth St., Austin, closed in July. The company’s other location in Las Vegas remains open. In addition to pizza the restaurant featured a wine bar and Italian cuisine, including pasta, salads and a mozzarella bar.

Coming Soon

Flyrite Chicken, 6539 Burnet Road, Austin, is set to open by early November. The company opened its first location on East Seventh Street earlier this year. The fast food joint offers natural, farm-raised chicken prepared in sandwiches, salads and wraps.
By JJ Velasquez
The Central Austin editor since 2016, JJ covers city government and other topics of community interest—when he's not editing the work of his prolific writers. He began his tenure at Community Impact Newspaper as the reporter for its San Marcos | Buda | Kyle edition covering local government and public education. The Laredo, Texas native is also a web developer whose mission is to make the internet a friendly place for finding objective and engaging news content.


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