How Chimano's Popular Restaurant in Nairobi Collapsed

  • A collage photo of Chimano and Kez Kitchen
    A collage photo of Chimano and Kez Kitchen
    File
  • Willis Chimano of Sauti Sol narrated how his hotel business in Nairobi collapsed after a good two-year run.

    Chimano partnered with his friends, one of them Phidi Mwatibo, and founded the hotel which was labeled Kez Kitchen.

    “In 2018 a couple of friends and I decided we were going to build a restaurant in memory of her mother. If Covid-19 hadn’t happened it would have been a totally different story,” stated. 

    Kez Kitchen which was located at Abor House, Nairobi Arboretum
    Kez Kitchen which was located at Abor House, Nairobi Arboretum
    File

    Located at Abor House in Arboretum, the open space restaurant had trendy rustic furniture which complemented the white and green-themed interior.

    When Kez Kitchen opened its doors it was an instant hit. It became popular without heavy marketing, attracting over 100 clients on some nights. 

    The restaurant had a bar that served alcoholic drinks and scooped a share of Nairobi’s buzzing nightlife before the pandemic.

    “The parties we were having would have about 150 people and even after we told them the number of people we could accommodate, they would still sneak in.

    “We had a lot of issues with the landlord and he was really against it,” Chimano’s business partner Phidi stated, adding that the noise also became an issue. 

    The problems persisted but the last nail on the coffin was delivered in the form of a Covid-19 pandemic, which strained the hospitality industry due to the closure of hotels.

    “When Covid-19 hit...you know when you see a boat capsizing, you just jump out, that’s exactly what we did,” she explained.

    When they decided to close the restaurant, the structures were brought down in just 5 hours. 

    Chimano however stated that the dream of running a restaurant was still alive and when the health and economic factors become suitable the hotel will reopen. 

    Kez Kitchen which was located at Abor House, Nairobi Arboretum
    Kez Kitchen which was located at Abor House, Nairobi Arboretum
    File