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Peli Peli Is Making Its Way Downtown

The new Peli Deli will begin a nine-month pop-up series inside the Esperson Building at 808 Travis.
The new Peli Deli will begin a nine-month pop-up series inside the Esperson Building at 808 Travis. Photo courtesy of Peli Peli Restaurant

The Peli Peli Restaurant Group, known for its highly successful South African restaurants around Houston, is “popping-up” downtown on the street level of the historical Esperson Building at 808 Travis starting in March of this year. Co-founder (and Houston Press freelance contributor) Thomas P. Nguyen talked to the Houston Press today about Peli Deli, the nine-month pop-up series that will be taking over the existing Murphy’s Deli space right inside the building next to the escalator at Travis and Rusk.

The Peli Deli menu will reflect items that are currently available at Peli Peli Kitchen, including the oxtail and pork belly sandwiches and naan tacos Houston has fallen in love with. The eatery will also serve alcoholic beverages and coffee.

Nguyen and his partners, Michael Tran and chef Paul Friedman, are excited about the opportunity to partner with Cameron Management for the nine-month pop-up. If all goes well, Peli Deli may become a permanent fixture downtown.

The interior space will have a complete cosmetic makeover as well. Nguyen said they have tapped Jon Garner, the artist who designed the art that lives at Peli Peli Kitchen, to create a unique spirit that “encompasses the flavors of the downtown food scene while honoring the historical significance of the Esperson building,” said Nguyen.


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Cuc Lam is a freelance food writer for the Houston Press and local pop-up chef. She enjoys teaching cooking classes and hosting dinner parties when she is not writing.