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Nando's Peri-Peri Set for Grand Opening Wednesday on Bethesda Row

The South African restaurant is known for its signature flame-grilled, Portuguese-style chicken with Peri-Peri sauce.

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."

Wendy Price November 02, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Groupon has a coupon today!
Renee Sklarew November 02, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Welcome Nando's! Patch readers here's my review http://bethesda.patch.com/articles/cluck-if-you-like-it-hot
Henry Jacobwitz November 02, 2011 at 09:59 PM
$10 off from Groupon! http://gr.pn/sMagYB
Willis November 05, 2011 at 05:23 PM
I went to the new location in Bethesda, md and was treated rudely. I was waiting in line and was told by the greeter the table number so I can let the person taking my order the table number. Well after we sat, my friend received his order within a few minutes and after he was almost half way through with lunch myself and 2 others were still waiting so I get someone's attention asking about our food. She went to check on our order and came back saying there were no more orders for this table. She then checked our receipts and said that our order number was for a different table when we clearly told the order taker our table number. She then went to get our food and another person (not sure if he was a manager) brought the food, without no apology in his words "for future reference (pointing his finger to table number on a sign on table) this is where your table number is." I clearly told him that I knew that and it was the order taker that put the wrong table number in our order. Again without any apology he stated "just bare with me, I have 60 employees just trained, when you first started working for Mercedes (I was wearing a Mercedes uniform), did you have a problem turning screws?" all he had to do was apologize for his employee but never got that so I will never return there and will let everyone know what terrible service you have.
Renee Sklarew November 07, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Hi Willis Thanks for writing and sorry to hear you were treated so rudely at the Bethesda Nando's. I haven't visited the new restaurant yet. I hope things improve, because in the other locations, they seem to handle customer service much better.

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