Ponce City Market stall Nani’s Piri Piri Chicken closes Tuesday, February 28, a little over a year after opening at the central food hall.
Owned by award-winning chef and restaurateur Meherwan Irani, Nani’s serves a choice of white or dark meat rotisserie chicken rubbed with piri piri from the chef’s spice company Spicewalla paired with sides of savory corn pudding, potatoes au gratin, and ancient grain salads. In addition to chicken plates, the stall offers a popular piri piri-seasoned chicken patty melt topped with havarti cheese, Duke’s mayo, lettuce, tomato, and red onions on a toasted brioche bun. Irani’s grilled Indian street food and kebab stall Botiwalla and spice shop Spicewalla both remain open at Ponce City Market.
“The response to our  Outstanding Restaurant Award from the James Beard Foundation has exceeded our wildest expectations and made it clear that showcasing Indian street food . . . is our most pressing mission right now,” the press release states as the reason for the closure.
Irani first opened Nani’s Piri Piri Chicken in 2020 at Grove Arcade food hall in Asheville, North Carolina. That location closed last summer and is now home to Spicewalla and a second kitchen for Irani’s original Chai Pani location.
Prior to the pandemic, Irani had begun plans to expand Botiwalla to as many as ten new locations throughout the southeast, and beyond. With the health crisis becoming less of a factor in daily operations, and business stabilizing at his restaurants in Atlanta and Asheville, Irani hopes to once again focus on Botiwalla’s expansion this year.
In 2022, the Asheville location of Chai Pani won a James Beard award for outstanding restaurant. Sahar Siddiqi, the chef of Chai Pani in Decatur, was just named a 2023 semi-finalist for best chef southeast by the James Beard Foundation.