Immy’s African Cuisine Is Opening a Restaurant on the East Side!

Immy’s is expanding beyond special events and farmers’ markets.

Immy Kaggwa wasn’t exactly searching for a brick-and-mortar location for her pop-up specializing in East African cuisine. With constant prep work during the week and then traveling from farmer’s market to festival to beer garden on the weekends, Kaggwa just didn’t have the time to consider that option.

“During the summertime, I am busy 24/7,” Kaggwa says.

But when Michael Vitucci and his wife tasted some of Kaggwa’s cooking at the Shorewood Farmer’s Market, the opportunity instead came searching for her. Vitucci, who owns Izzy Hops and Uncle Buck’s, insisted Kaggwa needed a place of her own. He just so happened to own a vacant building on the East Side located at 2845 N. Oakland Ave., the previous home of Persian restaurant Shahrazad.

“We talked and then I kind of said, ‘Okay, that doesn’t sound too bad,’” Kaggwa says.

The restaurant, which will carry over the name Immy’s African Cuisine, will still offer popular menu items that have won over market-goers like Vitucci, such as Kaggwa’s curry chicken and sambusas. However, with a bigger kitchen space, Immy’s African Cuisine will be able to expand its menu, offering items like chapati, a type of flat bread that requires a messy dough-kneading prep, making it a difficult item to make while on the road.

 

 

The restaurant will also be able to offer daily specials. The mainstay menu items hail from the East Africa region, but Kaggwa wants to be able to explore the cuisines of the rest of the continent as well. She points to West Africa dishes like fufu, a doughy finger often dipped in sauces, and egusi, a vegetable-packed soup made from ground melon seed, as specials she wants to tackle.

“The additional space will allow me to be more creative and to create other items that i wasn’t able to sell because I was always on the road, ” Kaggwa says.

Immy’s African Cuisine plans to also have a retail space, where premade dishes can be taken home and heated up. There will also be a curated selection of African beers and wine available, as well as cold tea. Kaggwa is also looking into ways to utilize a delivery system.

If all goes according to plan, Immy’s African Cuisine is aiming to be open by March 1 in 2022.

But even then, Kaggwa doesn’t plan on sitting still for long. Immy’s African Cuisine will still continue to make its festival runs and pop up at the Shorewood Farmer’s Market. Festival goers will be pleased to learn that they won’t have to wait until Wisconsin decides to finally warm up to enjoy Kaggwa’s cooking again.

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