"Mostly hustlers like me fit here very well as opposed to the wealthy because this is where I got my first Ksh1 million here so I can say it's a great opportunity for those who are determined" were the opening words of John Kamau Karanja, the owner of Lims Nyama Choma located in Seattle, US along pacific highway.
Dubbed as the Seattle Kamakis, the restaurant is known for its touch of Kenyan food and cuisine especially in delicacies such as nyama choma, mutura, mokimo and matumbo.
Speaking on Chams Media, Karanja noted that his journey was not a bed of roses- recalling his previous profession as a plumber in South Sudan.
Before making fortunes, the Limuru native used to sell curios in South Africa and Zambia. He relocated to South Sudan to become a plumber in order to make ends meet.
However, his luck turned around when he won the green card lottery in 2013 and brought his expertise to Seattle.
"One time at a friend's party, I cooked for them nyama choma and they were very pleased. Days later, I kept receiving calls from various people asking me to cook for them nyama choma at a fee," he pointed out.
At the time, he was doing various jobs in hospitals and nursing homes before deciding to focus on entrepreneurship.
For the past two years, Karanja has been building a brand with the help of his family.
"It's a family business but let's say that I've employed them(hahaa). My wife, Caroline Kamau, is the main chef while my son, Simon Kamau, works as a waiter. My other son, Steve Kamau, helps in accounting," he stated.
Karanja noted that running a business in America is a grueling task as one has to comply with various licenses and standards.
Seeking his customers to get the Kenyan experience, Karanja noted that his clientele come from different parts of the world from whites, South Africans, as well as Kenyans in diaspora.
Crediting part of the success to his bloodline, Karanja pointed out that the hospitality industry has been in his lineage from his grandfather to his father as well as his brothers who still run butcheries in Kenya.
The business is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 10 am to 10 pm. It's closed on Mondays.
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