What do Peru, Morrisville & rotisserie chicken have in common? Mami Nora’s Peruvian Restaurant located in Morrisville, North Carolina, of course! It all started with the Palma family, husband Julio of Peru, and wife Nora of El Salvador, after whom the business was named.
Prior to calling The Triangle home, the couple and their family lived in Maryland, but they became acquainted with North Carolina when visiting family members that reside in Durham. The family always embraced the Tar Heel State’s quality of life and reasonable cost of living so much so, they decided the hustle and bustle & high cost of living in Maryland was no longer a good fit for their family. The growing foodie scene was especially enticing to the family, who at the time had started toying with the idea of having a family restaurant.
Around this time, son Ranbir, finished serving in the Army and decided to go to culinary school. Once he graduated, his parents developed the idea of starting a family restaurant. Everyone was on board and Mami Nora’s Peruvian restaurant was soon to be born. Drawing from their heritage, the concept of “Pollo a la Brasa” (rotisserie chicken spinning over charcoal) was a natural fit for their restaurant. In Lima, Peru, you will find many Pollerias (restaurants specializing in chicken). The concept is also quite popular in New York and Maryland. The family knew they would offer a concept that was new to the area and that was a risk, however, they also knew that people in the Triangle are receptive to new and different cuisines. Especially DELICIOUS ones!
For a lot of us, the upcoming Ethnosh event on Wednesday, September 10th at Mami Nora’s Morrisville store may be the first time we’re hearing of Mami Nora’s, however, the Morrisville venue is not their only location. Mami Nora’s opened their 1st store in Durham in 2007. That did so well that they opened a 2nd store in Raleigh in 2011. The growing diversity and central location of Morrisville, “The heart of the Triangle”, was the obvious choice for their 3rd location. Mami Nora’s is family owned and operated by 8 family members. You can typically find Nora in the Durham store and Julio in the Raleigh store, while son Ranbir manages the Morrisville location. They do, however, shuffle all 8 members as needed to support the business.
So how does Mami Nora’s rotisserie chicken differ from standard rotisserie chicken? Mami Nora’s uses Natural Wood Charcoal. These are larger chunks of hardwood that are burned. This type of charcoal burns hotter and lasts longer and has no preservatives that you may find in other charcoals. The chicken is a secret family recipe that has been passed down and tweaked over the years. We tried to get it! But it’s in the VAULT!! What we did find out was that the chicken goes through a marinating process. Once that is complete, it takes over an hour for the chicken to cook on the rotisserie. As it cooks and the fat melts & drips onto the charcoal, the liquid turns into smoke which infuses into the chicken for additional flavor. Now that’s different than any rotisserie chicken we’ve ever had. How about you?
Rotisserie chicken is not the only hot item on Mami Nora’s menu. In Peru, the most popular sides rotisserie chicken is paired with are French fries and a salad. Mami Nora’s rotisserie chicken comes with two regular sides. The assortment of sides include white rice, black beans, house salad, hand cut fries, cole slaw, chicken soup and yellow corn. Their premium sides include yucca fries and maduros (fried sweet ripened plantains). Off the menu, you can order tostones. These are plantains (not ripened) that are sliced, fried, mashed, fried a second time and sprinkled with garlic salt. Are you feeling adventurous? Give it a whirl Triangle foodies!
Other accompaniments include their two top secret yellow and green sauces. These dipping sauces can be used on the chicken, french fries or yucca fries. The yellow sauce is mayo based and has a medley of secret ingredients. The green sauce is a concoction of spicy jalapenos and lime. But that’s not all, the owners embrace the farm to table movement. They make every effort to get as many items included in their cuisine from local farmers, including but not limited to potatoes and jalapenos. The chicken is hormone and additive free and is proudly sourced from Rocky Mount, NC. Gluten intolerant? Everything on the menu is gluten-free except the beans.
Aside from the savory menu, they have a small, yet, delectable assortment of classic Latin American desserts. Pastel De Tres Leches (three milks cake) is a cake soaked in milk, heavy cream and condensed milk. They also make a house-made Flan and Alfajores, which are two round cookies sandwiched between Dulce De leche (Latin America’s version of caramel).
Their drink offerings include Aguas Frescas (fresh waters) of Horchata (rice and cinnamon drink), Piña (pineapple drink) and Chi Cha Morada. This is a drink made of purple corn, cinnamon, cloves, pineapple and fresh lemon juice. If the chicken is not enough to entice you, the name alone of Chi Cha Morada and its ingredients is sure to draw you into Mami Nora’s. When possible, Mami Nora’s features Peruvian beer. Currently in stock when we visited was Franca Peruvian beer.
In addition to dining in, you can order online for takeout. The restaurant also participates in events across the city such as the Latin Festival, Fiesta del Pueblo and the Costa Rican Festival which will be held September 7th.
Come find out what Mami Nora’s has to offer. There is no better way than at the Ethnosh event in Mami Nora’s Morrisville store. Wednesday, September 10, 6-8PM. $5 gets you a tasting of several pre-selected Peruvian goodies. Come get your grub on & say hello to Food Diary of the City Girl and let me know what you think!