The owners of a catering and food truck business specializing in African fusion dishes are branching out with their first physical location.
Kirel Shaw and Myke Worthem are co-owners of Street Chef Shaw, a food truck and catering service they founded three years ago. Shaw serves as executive chef, preparing East African-inspired dishes ranging from tacos and pulled pork to curry rice and consommé.
Shaw and Worthem plan to open the restaurant in November at 1539 Plainfield Ave. NE, the former location of Rinaldi’s Pizza and Sub Shop. Rinaldi’s closed its Plainfield location in June, citing staff shortages in a Facebook post announcing the closing.
The co-owners of Street Chef Shaw have been friends since fifth grade and grew up together in the Creston neighborhood, where they are excited to return to open their first restaurant.
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The idea for the food truck came to them in 2020 when Shaw, who has 15 years of experience in restaurant kitchens, was preparing free meals for friends and community members struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic. When the food was well received, Shaw said “the light switch went on” as he realized he had recipes worth sharing.
The food truck has since taken off and grown into a catering business where the duo caters birthday parties, weddings and corporate events. Now they are excited to take the next step by opening a restaurant in the neighborhood where they grew up.
They said the food truck business is doing well, and opening a physical location, while not part of the original plan for Street Chef Shaw, felt like “the next obvious move.”
“You’re limited in space and what you can carry in the (food) truck, so it’s hard to venture out the way we know Kirell is capable of,” Wortham said.
The new restaurant, which has yet to receive an official name, will feature an expanded menu built on the food truck’s African-inspired roots.
“I’m changing the menu, but (keeping) all of our original favorites that everyone loves,” Worthem said. “This will give us the opportunity to introduce something new, but we will start with the food that everyone knows and loves. (We will) continue to expand on the menu Kirel created and introduce something different when the time is right.”
Shaw and Worthem signed a lease for the Plainfield location last month. The restaurant, which they expect to open in mid-to-late November after some minor renovations and inspections, will be available for takeout only.
They plan to continue operating the food truck in tandem with the restaurant, relying on the physical space to support operations in the winter off-season.
“Coming back to the Creston area is like coming back home to where our roots are, where we base this whole business also on (our) roots and giving back.” That’s the intentionality behind it all,” Shaw said. “(Creston) is where everything is built for sure.”
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