Porto’s Peri Peri making Indy debut

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Porto’s Peri Peri, a Chicago-based restaurant chain that focuses on Portuguese-style chicken, will open in Indianapolis this spring.

The restaurant, which will be the second in the state, will occupy just less than 3,000 square feet in the Pavilion at Castleton shopping center at 5981 E. 86th St.

Owner Syed Pasha opened his first Porto’s Peri Peri about three years ago, and now the chain has 11 locations. The newest Porto's, in Schererville, opened in January. The chain also has eight stores in the Chicago area and two in Texas—one in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, and one in the Dallas suburb of Plano.

In addition to the Castleton site, three other locations are in the works—one each in South Bend; Fullerton, California; and the Chicago suburb of Algonquin, Illinois.

The Castleton location is owned by Parveen Basher and Riaz Ameeruddin, who also own the Schererville restaurant.

The restaurant takes its name from its signature dish—grilled chicken cooked with peri peri sauce. The sauce, made with African bird’s eye chilies, is a traditional seasoning in Portuguese cuisine, Pasha said.

Porto’s chicken dishes are marinated for at least 24 hours, then steamed, then grilled and basted with additional sauce during grilling. The chicken is never frozen and served with the diner's choice of six levels of spice, from plain to extra hot, Pasha said. 

The menu also offers variety platters, burgers and vegetarian items, including some Indian and Middle Eastern-inspired dishes such as falafel, pita sandwiches and paneer with rice. Pasha said Porto’s aims to provide healthy options that are also flavorful. “Usually, when you focus on health you compromise on flavor—and we bring both.”

Customers place orders at the counter, and servers bring the food to the table, though Pasha said full table service is offered during busy times.

Porto’s is taking the space formerly occupied by Mediterrano Café. The owners of that restaurant moved out last year and opened a new Greek and Mediterranean restaurant, Papa Fattoush, in September at 15 E. Main St. in Carmel, in the city’s Arts and Design District.

In other news this week:

— A new local restaurant, Chef Tia & Co., is in the works at 4955 W. Washington St., Suite F6, on the city’s west side. Owner Tia Harrison, 38, says she’s aiming for an opening in late March. Harrison, who has been cooking professionally since 2008, says her restaurant will serve modern Southern cuisine, with an emphasis on classic Cajun and Creole/New Orleans dishes. 

— The tea spot HoiTea ToiTea recently opened its second local store, at the Fashion Mall at Keystone. Grand opening is Saturday. The husband-and-wife owners, Alexandra and Justin Harris, opened their first location in 2017 at 6283 N. College Ave. in Broad Ripple. The Keystone store sells tea, coffee, tea-infused beer, wine, champagne tea cocktails and pastries, with more menu items to be added later, Alexandra Harris told IBJ.

The Playful Soul, a boutique, art gallery, yoga studio and rental space, has relocated to 1001 E. 86th St. in Nora. At its new location, The Playful Soul shares space with owner Kristin Okeley’s other business, Kitchens by Design.

Ross Dress for Less is having a grand opening March 9 for its newest local store, at 8806 U.S. 31 South on the south side of Indianapolis. It will be the seventh Indianapolis-area store for the Dublin, California-based chain, and its 17th in Indiana. 

Valvoline Instant Oil Change has opened a company owned store at 4610 E. County Line Road in Indianapolis, just west of Emerson Avenue. The south-side store joins three others in central Indiana—one each in Greenwood, Fishers and Whitestown. The Louisville-based company has more than 1,300 franchised and company-owned stores in all.


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