A new taste of South Africa will arrive in South Florida when Spatch Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken opens in Fort Lauderdale this Thursday, February 9.
The Restaurant People (TRP), the South Florida-based hospitality group behind Fort Lauderdale's Tarpon Bend, S3, and Boatyard, has announced its partnership with South African-born restaurateur Stavros Florias to create a fast-casual restaurant they're calling the first of its kind.
"This is something altogether new for South Florida," says TRP cofounder Tim Petrillo, who adds the project has been two years in the making. "I feel that by now, everyone knows what it means to eat at a place like Panera or Chipotle, but no one is really taking the concept to the next level. At Spatch, you'll have the option of a sit-down server at the price point of a fast-casual restaurant. We're proving high-quality food and professional fast-casual service can coexist."
Located at 3848 N. Federal Hwy., Spatch will combine the elements of fast-casual dining with full table service while also offering upscale, high-end ingredients to execute a menu that concentrates on peri-peri marinated grilled chicken.
At the heart of the Spatch menu is the African bird’s eye chili — AKA peri-peri — a small chili pepper native to Africa and the base for the restaurant's line of peri-peri sauces. Commonly used in soups, stews, hot sauces, and chicken dishes, the pepper was discovered by Portuguese explorers who used it to create a one-of-a-kind sauce.
Peri-peri is the inspiration for nearly every aspect of Spatch, Petrillo says. The 2,500-square-foot, 80-seat eatery was conceptualized by Johannesburg-based interior designer Tristan du Plessis and will operate like many fast-casual restaurants, but with a few exceptions.
Guests will be able to place their orders at a walk-up counter and from there can opt to take out or dine in. Servers will bring food to the table, refill beverages, and clear plates — no tipping required. An app, available for download via the Spatch website Thursday, will also allow guests to order their food before even stepping inside the restaurant.
The Spatch menu — made up of platters, bowls, and salads — highlights the brand's main focus: hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken served in whole, half, quarter, filet cuts, and wings. Chicken platters are priced from $9.95 to $12.95. All are flavored with a selection of Spatch's proprietary peri-peri sauces.
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Those peri-peri sauces, whose recipes were created by Florias and TRP corporate chef Peter Boulukos, will be a "craveable" main attraction, Petrillo says. Versions include mild, medium, and hot, as well as lemon herb and sticky mango.
Customizable salads and bowls ($5.95 to $10.95) will offer high-end ingredients such as farro and quinoa, with optional add-ins like avocado and grilled pineapple. Sides include sweet-and-spicy kale with butternut squash and pumpkin seeds; a three-grain tomato and spinach salad with feta, farro, barley, and bulgar wheat; and traditional mac 'n' cheese.
The Spatch menu also lists several sandwiches, from the basic (grilled chicken breast, tomato, and peri-peri mayo) to the Spatch (grilled chicken thigh, sharp cheddar, coleslaw, house pickles, sweet hot peppers, and peri-peri mayo).