Piri-piri chicken is now the star of its own San Francisco restaurant: Piri Pica, from chef Telmo Faria (Uma Casa, Tacolicious) and Khalid Mushasha (Black Cat, Lolinda). The quick, counter-service business opens at 590 Valencia Street on Friday, September 7th at 11 a.m. following some last-minute construction and permitting delays.
Mushasha (in London) and Faria (in the Azores region of Portugal) grew up with piri-piri chicken, a Portuguese preparation of the African bird’s-eye chili pepper with roots in Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony. Flame grilled and hot from pepper, Piri Pica’s chicken is available by the quarter, half, or whole bird. Customers can order it either mild, zesty (with lemon and herbs), standard piri-piri, or spicy — “pica,” like the name, meaning sting.
A plate comes with an option for two sides like saffron rice, grilled corn, braised collard greens, and fries. Shrimp skewers can be ordered in lieu of chicken, and salads of couscous, cabbage, and wild rice are available (with the option to add chicken or shrimp). A crispy fried chicken sandwich and a chicken wrap option round out the menu — in full here. To drink are beer, wine, and the popular Portuguese fruit soda Sumol.
Inside the 1,800 square foot Piri Pica space (formerly Frjtz, which has migrated around the corner) customers can peer into the open kitchen, where chicken, corn and shrimp are grilling away. The space, laid out by CWalters Design, is decorated by paintings of Portuguese travel posters and offers seating for 48 at bright yellow chairs and steel banquettes. Outdoor cafe tables are in the works, as is delivery. Daily hours are 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.