Bethesda Row workers and residents will be able to try a new restaurant Wednesday. The unique Nando's Peri-Peri chicken restaurant will start serving up its flame-grilled chicken coated in a spicy chili Peri-Peri sauce at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The restaurant is opening at the former location of Chicken Out Rotissiere at 4839 Bethesda Avenue.
Nando's is a chicken restaurant chain with over 1,000 locations in 30 countries that got its start in South Africa in 1987, according to Bethesda Manager Ryan Welsch, who was welcoming guests during the mock opening on Tuesday afternoon.
"We run a very big business, in a small business kind of way," said Welsch.
The company entered the U.S. by opening a restaurant on 7th Street in the District in July of 2008. After that came another D.C. location as well as openings in Annapolis, Silver Spring and Gaithersburg, Md.
Their restaurants are known for their earth tone interiors decorated with African art. Welsch said the chain is the largest private collector of South African art in the world.
The menu features grilled chicken, which is marinated for 24 hours in their Peri-Peri chili sauce, and can be paired with sauces that include plain, lemon and herb, medium, hot and extra hot. Sizes range from a 1/4 chicken for $5.95 to a whole chicken for $16.95.
Also included on the menu are appetizers such as spicy mixed olives ($3.95), hummus ($3.95) and Peri-Peri wings ($4.95); a wide range of salads; a selction of sides and a variety of sandwiches, pitas and wraps—including a chicken breast pita ($6.25), chicken caseser wrap ($6.25) and a roasted portabello mushroom with Halloumi cheese and chili jam wrap ($7.25).
Welsch said there are currently 20 to 30 Nando's in development for the greater D.C. Metro area. But, he said they had their eye on Betheseda for awhile.
"When we saw this location was available, we took it," said Welsch, "Bethesda was a no-brainer. We truly feel honored to be here."
The restaurant also serves beer and wine. It has a wide selection of Portuguese and South African wines as well as craft beers on tap like Fying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter and Heavy Seas Ale. A variety of bottled beer is also available. Welsch said they will be serving happy hour deals from 4 to 7 p.m.
Welsch invited guests at the mock opening on Tuesday to create their own experience with the self-service options. The digital Coke machine can create over 150 soda flavors and all their sauces can be brought directly to the table.
"There's no pretense here," said Welsch, "Just make your own experience."