Kontiki African Restaurant, the first African restaurant to open in Central Arkansas, is coming to Little Rock. Three weeks ago, the restaurant closed the doors on its location in Alexander and announced a move, but didn’t disclose the location. We’ve now learned Kontiki’s landing spot is The Village Shopping Center at University and Asher, the same shopping center as Mr. Chen’s Authentic Chinese Cooking. The restaurant is set to open in 2–3 weeks. Kontiki owner Christian Domingo says his focus right now is on getting the new space ready.
“It’s a good space, but there’s some work to do,” said Domingo. “It looks fine, but we’ve found things like a plastic water line that had to be replaced. It’s not too hard, but there is work like that we need to do first.”
Domingo opened Kontiki African Restaurant in the former Alexander County Café back in January. Domingo grew up and raised his family in Sierra Leone, but immigrated to the United States in 2001 as a refugee from his country’s civil war. More than 50,000 people died in the war, but the Domingo family won the lottery to come to America and settle in Little Rock.
Kontiki opened to positive reviews and good business, but had to adjust hours and the menu to allow the restaurant’s largest customer base in Little Rock to make it in. Alexander is too far for most to make it in for lunch, so Kontiki switched to serving dinner during the week. With the move, Domingo hopes to be able to establish normal lunch and dinner hours while reaching even more customers.
“The customers, I can already see that here,” said Domingo. “Most people don’t really know us, but when you move and people see people coming in and out, you’re going to get more people trying it. We’re expecting to get a lot more people.”
Kontiki serves authentic Sierra Leone cuisine, based primarily on fish, rice, spices, and leafy greens cooked in palm oil. The Jollof Rice with tomatoes, red bell peppers and West African spices, has been the most popular dish thus far. Domingo is looking to expand the menu at the new location to include more West African delicacies. He is also looking to hire a couple of line cooks for the restaurant (he will provide training in Sierra Leone cooking).
Look for Kontiki African Restaurant to open in The Village Shopping Center by late August. We will keep you posted on the restaurant’s opening day and any new menu items you can find there.