Lugar de Pollo: The House of Chicken

THE INTERIOR DESIGN OFFERS THE ULTIMATE PORTUGUESE EXPERIENCE FOR GUESTSLUGAR DE POLLO OPENED ITS DOORS IN 2020 AT CHISIPITE FOOD COURT. THEY HAVE BEEN OPERATING FOR ALMOST TWO YEARS AND HAVE GAINED SUBSTANTIAL PATRONAGE BECAUSE OF THEIR ORGANIC PORTUGUESE FLAVOURED FLAME GRILLED CHICKEN. PATRONS LOVE THEIR CHICKEN AND BUSINESS HAS BEEN GOOD AS EVIDENCED BY THE OPENING OF ANOTHER LUGAR DE POLLO RESTAURANT AT BORROWDALE VILLAGE WALK A YEAR LATER IN NOVEMBER 2021.

Lugar de Pollo is Portuguese for The House of Chicken. The founder of Lugar de Pollo, Mr. Ben Nyaumwe, got his inspiration from a close friend of Portuguese origin, Fernande Bras. They met during his time in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and Bras would later entrust Nyaumwe with his treasured recipe for the Galinha and signature fiery Taliban Sauce. Mr. Ben Nyaumwe then decided to establish Lugar de Pollo, a restaurant serving organic, flame grilled chicken in the age old style of the Portuguese.

The aluminium and glass façade defines the exterior look of Lugar de Pollo Chisipite. From the parking lot you can see the four mustard booth benches with black wood frames and leather upholstery which pique the curiosity of shoppers, inviting them inside. There are plenty of striking features and designs at Lugar de Pollo Chisipite which were brought to life by a local interior designer of Portuguese origins, Carlos Ferreira. As you enter, the inviting polychromatic nature of the space will not fail to take you aback. Yellow, red, green, brown, black, grey – the fusion of colours is reminiscent of a Portuguese restaurant.

The unorthodox PVC lighting design was sourced from Prime World. The oval bulbs hang from copper PVC conduits giving a modern trendy rustic feel. There are at least five seating arrangements at Lugar de Pollo Chisipite. Patrons can choose to dine on the multicolored square tables or the booths mounted on the wooden deck on the right or have their drinks on the long bar tables.

There are seven four-seater square tables off the wooden deck which is the main dining area, set on the wooden floor tiling. The chairs are tub chairs with a wooden frame and leather upholstery. The tables have wooden tops with a Formica finish presumably for easier cleaning. The multicolor theme extends to the table tops as well with pink, red, beige and white strips of Formica used to adorn the tables. The wooden table tops also have a steel base for durability.

It is the booth and table seating option set on the wooden deck that the guests usually go for. A group can choose to occupy the U-shaped red velvet-textured booths or the mustard booths which come with leather upholstery. The booths are on a raised to customers especially the booths which are placed against walls. The booths set against the aluminium and glass wall near the entrance provide an equally pleasant dining experience giving patrons a sense of being connected to the outside while still being contained in a booth. Black granite table tops with a steel base furnish the booths. Up to 7 people can sit comfortably in the booths Close to the sales counter is a red velvet textured bench on which customers waiting for their takeaway orders can sit.

There are also long bar height tables and stools on which customers can sit. The bar height tables which have black granite tops, and stools provide an interactive and chilled seating option for the patrons. There are two tables and four stools for each table.

During the renovations, the greyish ceramic tiling on the walls was chipped to expose the raw brickwork giving the place a more rustic look and the exposed brickwork was then varnished.

The big red chili shape stacked with blocks of wood is another clever design feature which takes centre stage. The chili is carved right across the belly of the sales counter and it is one of the features you see first as you enter. It is symbolic of the hot spiciness of Lugar de Pollo chicken.

From the counter or waiting bench, customers can see through to the kitchen so they can have an opportunity of watching their meal being prepared in a modern kitchen compete with a commercial extractor hood. Behind the counter sales are two refrigerators, one for beers and wines since Lugar de Pollo is licensed to sell alcohol, and another refrigerator for soft drinks.

There is even a wash basin behind one of the U-shaped booths where you can wash your hands before or after eating. The restaurant uses a hybrid system for power supply. They primarily run on electricity from the grid and the generators at the back provide backup power supply in the event of a power cut. At the back is also parking space for bikers who handle deliveries. On the left wall is a big canvas detailing the Lugar de Pollo Story. It is a great way of having patrons familiarise themselves with the brand on a more personal level. On the same wall are two large paint portraits depicting a Portuguese city establishment adding a palpable Portuguese ambience in the restaurant. The setting is as Portuguese as it can get. During the renovations, the greyish ceramic tiling on the walls was chipped to expose the raw brickwork giving the place a more rustic look and the exposed brickwork was then varnished.

The big red chili shape stacked with blocks of wood is another clever design feature which takes centre stage. The chili is carved right across the belly of the sales counter and it is one of the features you see fifirst as you enter. It is symbolic of the hot spiciness of Lugar de Pollo chicken. From the counter or waiting bench, customers can see through to the kitchen so they can have an opportunity of watching their meal being prepared in a modern kitchen compete with a commercial extractor hood.

Behind the counter sales are two refrigerators, one for beers and wines since Lugar de Pollo is licensed to sell alcohol, and another refrigerator for soft drinks. There is even a wash basin behind one of the U-shaped booths where you can wash your hands before or after eating.

The restaurant uses a hybrid system for power supply. They primarily run on electricity from the grid and the generators at the back provide backup power supply in the event of a power cut. At the back is also parking space for bikers who handle deliveries.

Most of the interior design features, elements and appliances at the Chisipite branch such as the paint portraits, the fusion of colours, the chili across the sales counter’s belly, the two fridges, extractor hood and the deck, were carried over and adapted in the Village Walk outlet which is significantly smaller by comparison. The chili in front of the black granite sales counter does not have blocks of wood stacked inside like the one at Chisipite but it is still striking nonetheless.

The tiling on the walls is grey and only found at the sales counter area. Unlike at the Chisipite spot, there is only one seating arrangement. There is a deck with burgundy coloured wooden tables. The guests can sit on the plastic chairs which vary in colour. Most of the orders they get are takeaways as the place is quite small. However, the Lugar de Pollo staff urges sit-ins as it is most importantly, the Portuguese flair they want customers to take home with.

There is an outdoor vibe about the place as the aluminium bi-fold doors are always folded away opening up the modestly sized dining area a bit.

Lugar de Pollo restaurants are open from 8am to 10pm Sunday to Thursday and close much later on Friday and Saturday


text by Farai Chaka

photos by Structure and Design


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