"Karibuni" – Swahili for welcome – is the greeting guests will receive at Kenyan Cafe, a local restaurant specializing in traditional African cuisine.
The Kenyan Cafe stands out from typical American-style restaurants in the area and offers customers an entirely new and exotic experience.
Their menu is filled with a variety of ethnic entrees spiced with a unique blend including turmeric, ginger and cloves.
Denis Gekara, owner of Kenyan Cafe, said the most popular dish on their menu is Chicken Curry. The entree consists of flavorful curried chicken mixed with all-natural spiced rice and organic vegetables. Many guests order the curry or one of the cafe's stews for a nice lunch, he said.
The beef stew is another popular entrée and is filled with exotic tastes and textures. The stew consists of beef tips and veggies spiced to perfection.
Guests can choose between cooked cabbage and kale to add to the stew. The kale adds even more to the unique flavor and makes the soup a filling and hearty treat.
Gekara said their most popular side is a Kenyan bread called Mandazi. This bread will leave guests with their mouths watering for more.
Mandazi has a somewhat sweet flavor and makes a great compliment for the spicy entrees Kenyan Cafe has to offer. Gekara said he fries the bread in olive oil for the crispy outer shell.
Kristen Pennington, junior political science student and Kenyan Cafe regular, said she felt comfortable in the surroundings of Kenyan Cafe and found it to be a great location to do homework, and get away from the library.
"It has such a great ambiance," Pennington said. "The food is not only healthy and delicious, but the restaurant also offers a cultural authenticity that is one of a kind in Morgantown."
But, guests will find more than just traditional foods at Kenyan Cafe. The restaurant is also well known for their imported teas and coffee.
Gekara said Kenyan Cafe sells three different traditional teas, imported straight from Kenya.
The first and most popular is the Masala, a heavily spiced tea that soothes the throat and leaves a sweet taste on the tongue. It is served piping hot with organic milk and sugar already added. The other two teas consist of a red ginger blend and a regular red tea.
These are brewed fresh every morning and made with all organic ingredients. Vegan guests can also find a home in Kenyan Cafe, Gekara said.
The restaurant serves vegan entrees, drinks and fresh fruit smoothies with no dairy.
"Our fruit smoothies are great for vegans, because we don't use any dairy," Gekara said. "We use frozen fruits because this actually keeps more nutrients in, and people can choose which fruits they want in, and we will use 100 percent fruit juices."
Gekara said he came to the U.S. from Kenya in 1999, but it wasn't until after college at Fairmont State University he realized what he wanted to do with his business degree. It was in May 2009 he finally put his degree to work and opened Kenya Cafe.
"I wanted to share my cooking, what I thought to be simple good food, with others," Gekara said. "I wanted to create an opportunity for myself and for others in the community."
Kenyan Cafe is located in Chelsea Square at 1137 Van Voorhis Road. They offer dine in, take out and delivery.
Their hours are: Monday 10:30a.m. to 10p.m., closed Tuesdays, Wednesday-Friday 10:30a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday 12:30 to 9 p.m.
For more information visit www.kenyancafe.com or call 304-598-3044.
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