Peli Peli Austin

minimum investment: Free!

Austin, TX

South African flavors served with southern hospitality. One of Houston’s top rated restaurants opening in downtown Austin.

Over the past 8 years, the Peli Peli restaurant group has created a series of successful dining destinations in Houston. The team has served Partner and Executive Chef Paul Friedman’s award-winning South African fusion cooking and has stayed true to its passion for creating extraordinary experiences for its clientele.

It's no coincidence that the group’s first expansion outside of Houston will be in Austin. The University of Texas at Austin was where partners Thomas Nguyen (BA’98, JD’01) and Michael Tran (BS’99) first met. The Longhorns rejoined forces in Houston several years later and began their journey with Chef Paul to launch Peli Peli in 2009.

Funding targeted by 7/28/2017

Loan/p>Minimum investment: $100

Peli Peli has found a home within the diverse mix of cultures around Houston, celebrating its unique identity with its expression through food, service, and community. Their new location will be in downtown Austin’s famed 2nd Street District.
In February 2017, Peli Peli won the People’s Choice Award at the Greater Houston Restaurant Association’s Golden Fork Awards Gala. This was the latest among a number of awards recognizing the group for their strong customer support.

Peli Peli’s first location was listed among OpenTable’s Top 100 American Fare Restaurants for 2013. By 2015, it was rated the #1 restaurant in Houston on TripAdvisor (out of 7,511 restaurants). By early 2016, less than a year after its Galleria location had opened, both spots were ranked among the top 10 restaurants in Houston on TripAdvisor.
The formula that Peli Peli has created is much more than the delectable cuisine. With each new location, the team develops eye-popping spaces. In its Galleria Houston location, the team constructed what Zagat has called one of Houston’s “Most Instagram Worthy” dining experiences with its dynamic, one-of-a-kind lighting display built into the ceiling.

Peli Peli Galleria: The team ran a successful NextSeed campaign in April and May of 2016 (under Texas intrastate regulations). The group launched Peli Peli Kitchen (PPK) in October of the same year. The vision behind PPK was a fast casual version of its high-end restaurant. The team had successfully pitched on the Food Network’s Restaurant Startup and received the largest funding offer in the show’s history. Negotiations after the show left the group parting ways with its potential investor, but the concept was executed and delivered beyond even their own expectations.
Peli Peli’s Austin location will be taking over a second-generation restaurant space on 2nd Street. The historic block is an established destination for thriving restaurant concepts. Peli Peli aims deliver a unique experience in the city’s dining scene while also serving a place that is deeply important to its founders.
Community Presence: Peli Peli is also resolute in its mission to serve others. In June 2015, Peli Peli launched an event called “Table Service Day,” closing its Galleria location for an evening to host a dinner for 150 homeless clients and volunteers with the Star of Hope Foundation.
In 2016, the Peli Peli team partnered with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to host a prom for over 100 teens receiving care at the hospital. Numerous restaurants, community leaders, musical acts, and dozens of volunteers participated, dedicating their time and resources to creating an unforgettable evening for the children and their families. In April 2017, Peli Peli will host a similar event with Austin Independent School District for their special needs students.


Peli Peli focuses on delivering a fine dining experience that fuses South African cuisine with Southern comfort food. Although a portion of the menu is 100% authentic South African, Peli Peli is the first South African restaurant to incorporate American cuisine.
Peli Peli serves lunch and dinner throughout the week and brunch on the weekend. Event catering has consistently played a role in expanding the team’s reach, and outside delivery service has recently picked up through its partnerships with third-party service providers (e.g., Uber Eats, Favor).

Peli Peli also serves the country’s largest collection of South African wines. In addition to an array of key imports, Peli Peli has its own private label wines from South Africa as well. A careful selection Californian, Spanish, and French boutique wines round out its list. Among the accolades that rings truest are the testimonials from South African expats who insist that Peli Peli is indeed the real deal. The SouthAfrican.com named Peli Peli in its 15 favorite South African restaurants in the world
one of only two in the US to make the list.” The restaurant’s rise in the Houston restaurant scene has not been an overnight phenomenon. Over the past 8 years, the restaurant group has painstakingly created a community that serves as its foundation for everything.
It has cultivated this brand by placing a strategic emphasis on company culture being a competitive advantage. The team dedicates significant resources towards employee development and satisfaction, believing its employees to be key contributors to Peli Peli’s success in delivering an outstanding customer experience. Wages and salaries are set above industry averages, and training and recreational perks for the staff help to bolster loyalty, morale and overall enthusiasm. The Peli Peli team regularly pushes the envelope with marketing and PR initiatives to further generate awareness for its unique category. The team recently appeared on the nationally syndicated reality show “Restaurant Startup” (CNBC), where the trio pitched a new quick service concept called Peli Peli Kitchen (PPK) and negotiated the largest investment in the show’s history – a $1.25 million commitment from successful restaurateur Elizabeth Blau. Although the investment was not consummated,the show highlighted Peli Peli’s culinary appeal and ability to develop fantastic experiences for its customers. Chef Paul has also made appearances on “Cutthroat Kitchen” (Food Network) and numerous local and regional shows to promote Peli Peliand South African cuisine.

Use of Funds

100% of the funding proceeds from NextSeed will be used towards the buildout of Peli Peli Austin and the purchase of equipment, furniture and supplies. Any additional proceeds will be put towards working capital.