Travelers Kitchen, a restaurant specializing in African cuisine, has been open since April but is now planning a Sept. 8 grand opening to roll out its expanded menu and extended operating hours.
Weve been up and running with a limited menu, said owner Ansumana Darboe. Weve been trying it out to see what the community likes and hiring and training staff. Now we feel like were ready to let the community know were here.
Travelers Kitchen, 1731 S. MacArthur Blvd., opened in April shortly after La Bamba closed. Owner Ramiro Aguas told SBJ at the time the closure was due to staffing issues with the Springfield location, but he planned to keep the Champaign and Normal restaurants open.
Travelers Kitchen offers a wide range of dishes from the West Africa region, such as chicken yassa, chicken afra, fufu soup, grilled and friend tilapia, plantain, samosas and egg rolls, boritto and cesidilla. Darboe said the most popular items will remain on the menu, and he plans to add okra soup to the fufu catelog and jerk seasoning for the chicken afra. Sandwiches will be a new addition to the menu as well, based on feedback hes received from his neighbors.
The school is right next door, and the teachers have said they want to be able to come in and get a quick lunch, Darboe said.
A ribbon cutting will take place on Friday, Sept. 8, at 12 p.m. with the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. A food tasting will be held from 1-6 p.m. for those would like to sample the menu items. Starting at 6 p.m., a DJ will be playing Afro beats music.
Following the grand opening, Travelers Kitchen will be open seven days a week, Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m.