What started out as a weekend shack at TheBigWonderful in RiNo and then became a mobile kitchen — one good enough to win our Best Food Truck award — has found a permanent home in Parker. Jozi's Kitchen & Shebeen is now the only South African restaurant in the metro area, and on September 10, it will celebrate its grand opening at 10971 South Parker Road.
South African brothers Angus and John Hicks first introduced Denver to the cuisine of their home country in early 2015, when they also launched a line of dried meats available on Jozi's website — a type of beef jerky called biltong and a sausage snack called droewors. This past spring, you could often find the bright-red trailer serving bunny chow, boerewors and pap, and other South African specialties in front of the Denver Bicycle Cafe on East 17th Avenue. But earlier this summer, the brothers found a 2,200-square-foot restaurant space in Parker to call home; they've been holding soft openings this week and will make it official beginning tomorrow.
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The menu at Jozi's encompasses elements of African, Indian, French, Dutch and Malay cooking, as South Africa itself is a melting pot of cultures. Curries come ladled into hollowed-out bread loaves and are called bunny chow; grilled meats feature prominently in skewers called sosaties; and a cornmeal porridge called pap — similar to polenta — is the predominant starch. You'll also find bobotie, a baked meat pie with a custard topping; potjiekos, a stew cooked in a cast-iron cauldron available only on weekends; and "monkey" burgers hot off the braaie (barbecue).
Jozi's is named for the brothers' home town of Johannesburg, and the "shebeen" part of the name comes from the speakeasy shacks that sprang up in the townships of Johannesburg to serve cold beer and street food during Apartheid.
Jozi's Kitchen & Shebeen is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.