The South African peri-peri chicken chain will now have 39 locations in the US.
If you're not familiar with Nando's, you probably will be soon. The casual dining chain that specializes in spicy peri-peri chicken launched in South Africa in 1987 and has since grown to over 1,000 locations in 23 countries. It's especially popular in the U.K., where it operates more than 300 restaurants, and since 2008, it's been expanding in the U.S. If you're not sold by deliciously spiced chicken, maybe Chance the Rapper will help pique your interest. The Chicago-based rapper has teamed with the chain to grill chicken for charity at the grand opening of its newest Chicago location next week.
The new Nando's—located at 155 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60601—is the 12th location to open in the Chicago area (all in the past two years) and the chain's 39th location in the U.S. (the rest are in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore area)—will celebrate its grand opening next week on September 5, with Chance dropping by around 6 p.m. local time to "man the grills, deliver Nando's peri-peri grilled chicken to fans and speak about the importance of supporting Chicago public schools and nurturing local talent." Of course, a celebrity appearance ups the ante at any grand opening, but the rapper is also using the event to promote his nonprofit, SocialWorks, which "aims to empower youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement." The restaurant chain has promised to donate all proceeds through sales (excluding alcohol) from September 5 to 7 to the Chicago-based organization.
"Nando's has a history of supporting public schools and community non-profits when they open new restaurants, which I really admire," Chance said in a statement. "Besides, they make damn good chicken, so I hope everyone will come out and eat some peri-peri chicken and help us raise money for SocialWorks." Nando's says that, nationwide, the company has donated more than $225,000 to public schools and nonprofits through similar opening week promotions.
As for when you may see Nando's closer to you, as recently as a month ago, a company spokesperson told the Chicago Business Journal that the brand was exploring other markets but wouldn't tip his hand as to where those new markets may be. However, a bit of history may provide some insight: The chain opened its first U.K. location in 1992, and by 2010, The Guardian wrote an article on "How Nando's conquered Britain." Extrapolating from the brand's 2008 U.S. debut, we can likely expect Nando's American takeover to be fully realized in the next decade.