Eatery snaps up prime Nakumatt space


The new Charlie's Bistro outlet on Wabera Street in Nairobi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

A local restaurant that was a casualty of citywide demolitions carried out by a multiagency team a month ago has re-opened in the space that previously housed Nakumatt City Hall.

Charlie’s Bistro, owned by businessman Muriithi Muhoro, has taken up three floors at the prime St Ellis House location on Wabera Street in the central business district (CBD).

The first branch of the restaurant was located inside South End Mall on Lang’ata Road before the building was brought down by the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).

The five-storey building linked to former legislator Stephen Manoti, said to have cost Sh2 billion, was turned to rubble as Nema conducted an operation to reclaim riparian land in Nairobi.

Rising demand for eateries has spurred increased investment in restaurants that has attracted new entrants and spurred expansion by existing players.

The new Charlie’s Bistro outlet is located between two Java outlets, stepping up the race to feed the city centre’s middle class.

Java is also set to open another outlet in Kileleshwa following demolition of its 10-year-old and fifth biggest branch during the multiagency operation.

In April, Ugandan coffee chain Cafe Javas opened its maiden outlet in the CBD — named CJ’s — at the junction of Biashara and Koinange streets.

This brought the existing turf wars between Java and Cafe Javas in Uganda to Kenyan territory.

Java Group is the biggest restaurant chain in the market, followed by fast-food brand Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Art Caffe restaurant and Subway.

Artcaffe, which has 12 branches, has been the main competitor for Java House until recently when smaller coffee houses including Kaldis, CJ’s Connect set up shop locally.