Face Behind Highly Acclaimed Kenya-Themed US Restaurant

  • Francis Kioko Kasyoki left the country to try his luck in the US in the late 90s, in his hands a Ksh60,000 donation from the community, and artifacts that he got from his uncle to sell if he ran out of funds.

    Talking to a Florida-based journalist Linnie Supall in 2019, he indicated that he established an arts business not too long after landing in the US, only for it to be flattened on September 11, 2001, during the infamous 911 terror attack in New York City.

    It was after the setback that he dedicated his energies to the coffee industry for a number of years before he finally founded the Swahili Grill in 2018 at Raleigh, North Carolina where he is also the chief chef.

    "The inspiration from Swahili grill came from the feeling of emptiness surrounding the African cultures in America. The East African culture is centered around a great community filled with great people," he intimated.

    Francis Kasyoka (left) with journalist Linnie Supall at the Swahili Grill in North Carolina on June 12, 2019.

    The restaurant has been serving the East Africans living in the state and other foreigners who were interested in getting a taste of the East African cuisine.

    "It is our mission to serve customers and invite the American community to experience the African culture and enjoy our great food," Kioko stated.

    Some of the specialties in the restaurant include goat choma, beef choma, chicken stew, coconut mbaazi and chapati.

    The restaurant has received intense praise not only amongst the area residents but also in the news media.

    This was evident in a much-hyped article by Emmy-nominated journalist Linnie Supall, writing for WPTV in Florida and NBC Entertainment, after she visited the restaurant on June 12, 2019.

    "Enjoyed meeting Francis Kasyoka Kioko, Chef and owner of Swahili Grill. Swahili Grill takes you on a Safari to our childhood roots in Kenya where every meal is traditionally prepared from scratch. It brings an authentic taste of home-style dishes with a modern eclectic twist," she tweeted.

    Musyoki told the journalist that his tailored recipes were passed down from generation to another and reminded him of his childhood in Kenya.

    Ugali, Chapati, meat and indigenous vegetables prepared at the Swahili grill.
    A collage of photos from the Sawhili Grill in North Carolina.