Peli Peli restaurants in Houston and the Woodlands to close

Shrimp Mozambique at Mozambik, a Portuguese-inspired South African restaurant, replacing Houston’s two Peli Peli locations in the Woodlands and at the Galleria.

Photo: Raul Casares

Photo: Raul Casares

Fans of Peli Peli South African Kitchen will have little more than a week to enjoy the restaurants’ distinctive, spice route-influenced cuisine. After 12 years in the Houston market, Peli Peli is closing and being replaced by Mozambik, a new Portuguese-inspired South African restaurant brand that plans to open additional locations throughout Texas and possibly beyond.

The last day of service at the two Peli Peli restaurants – 1201 Lake Woodlands Dr. in the Woodlands and 5085 Westheimer at the Galleria – will be Sept. 5. The two locations will then transition to Mozambik, first at the Woodlands on Sept. 10, followed soon by the Galleria restaurant.

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The effort is being led by restaurateur Ryan Stewart, a Johannesburg native (and Houston resident since 2018), who is co-owner of the Mozambik brand, specializing in Afro-Porto cuisine, that has multiple locations in South Africa and Zambia. Stewart, who joined the Peli Peli group in 2018, will oversee the U.S. expansion along with executive chef Macey Maples, Peli Peli’s chef de cuisine. While leading Peli Peli’s new culinary direction, from fine dining to more affordable casual dining, Stewart has introduced a number of new signature recipes that will remain on Mozambik’s menu including peri peri chicken, trinchado (spicy beef or chicken in a creamy sauce), rissoles (Portuguese-style empanadas), bobotie, crab cakes, curries, and other South African pub foods staples.

Peli Peli’s Vintage Park location permanently closed in 2020 but reopened this year as the Chef’s Table, under direction of former Peli Peli partner and chef Paul Friedman. Peli Peli in Katy also is closed. The brand’s casual offshoots, Peli Peli Kitchen, with locations at 9090 Katy Fwy. and within Whole Foods at 101 N. Loop, also are permanently closed.

“We want to thank all of the guests who have supported Peli Peli through the years,” Stewart said. “We know there’s an appetite for great South African food in Houston, and we are very excited for the opportunity to bring Mozambik to the US.”

Greg Morago writes about food for the Houston Chronicle. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter. Send him news tips at greg.morago@chron.com. Hear him on our BBQ State of Mind podcast to learn about Houston and Texas barbecue culture.

  • Greg Morago

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    Greg Morago was a features editor and reporter for The Hartford Courant for 25 years before joining the Houston Chronicle as food editor in 2009. He writes about food, restaurants, spirits, travel, fashion and beauty. He is a native Arizonan and member of the Pima tribe of the Gila River Indian Community.