The Peli Peli Restaurant Group, which includes South African fine-dining concept Peli Peli and Peli Peli Kitchen, a fast-casual offshoot, has signed a lease for the Mary Barden Keegan Center located at 2445 North Freeway. The 15,000-square-foot building includes 3,000 square feet of kitchen space and is familiar to Houston commuters because of the prominent "End Hunger" slogan on the side. Peli Peli will utilize the building as a commissary & catering kitchen for its multiple locations and allow the group to create South African-inspired product lines, including sauces and seasonings.
Peli Peli opened its first location on April 13, 2009 in northwest Houston at the Vintage Park Shopping Center. Six years later, they were able to open a second location inside of the Houston Galleria Mall. This past year has seen additional fast casual locations, Peli Peli Kitchen and Peli Deli, open along with a new Peli Peli in Katy, Texas at the LaCenterra Shopping Center. The aggressive year of growth will culminate with a location in Austin, Texas—Peli Peli's first location outside of Houston. Both Peli Peli Galleria and Peli Peli Vintage Park are currently ranked in the top 10 in Houston by TripAdvisor & Yelp.
Peli Peli hopes that utilizing the commissary at the 'End Hunger" building will enable them to reduce food costs and food prep labor in addition to allowing for improved consistency in its food product. "It solves our short-term quality control issues and allows us to reduce our food and labor costs," says Michael Tran, partner and CEO of Peli Peli. "Hopefully this will allow us to pass some of our savings to the customers at a time when people are looking for better value."
Houston-based Virgata Property Company purchased the building in December 2016. In searching for the right tenant, Virgata wanted a hospitality group whose core values included service to the community. "The team at Peli Peli is as innovative a restaurant group as I have met in 32 years in the Houston real estate industry. In getting to know the team, it was clear that they have a corporate culture of service to their customers, employees and the community," says Scot Luther, founding partner of Virgata Property Company. "I had heard about Peli Peli and frankly, did not buy the hype until I had their food and met the team."
In 2016, the Peli Peli's Houston Restaurant Weeks' donations totaled over $76,000 and helped Peli Peli Galleria finish as the second biggest Houston Restaurant Weeks donor behind B&B Butchers & Restaurant. "I think it was meant to be that we ended up with the Mary Barden Keegan building, and we look forward to giving back to our community in creative and engaging ways," says Thomas Nguyen, a partner of Peli Peli. "Hiring individuals with a heart to serve and a passion for community service will be critical to our success in this building."
Virgata Property Company has been active in retail and medical development in the Houston area since 1998. The company is a long term holder of real estate, hand picking its tenants for continued viability, recognizing that a landlord is as successful as its tenants. Virgata owns numerous properties in Texas including Houston's CBD, West University and six properties in the Houston Heights.
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