Cherokee Street is now home to one of the only West African restaurants in the St. Louis area. Ofure Palace debuted on April 4, featuring Nigerian soul food alongside American staples. The range of options include jollof rice and spicy goat meat as well as cheeseburgers and chicken wings.
The concept comes from chef-owner Ofure Brandon, from Lagos, Nigeria, and her husband, David Brandon, a St. Louis native. While it’s Ofure’s first restaurant, she started cooking at a young age, later helping with her mother’s catering business in Nigeria.
“I’ve always been passionate about cooking and take pride in African food,” says Ofure, whose name translates to 'peace.' “We also cater to all kinds of people and have everything from salads and soups to sandwiches.”
Ofure Palace fills a space previously occupied by Kebab House, with 16 seats throughout the interior dining area and more on an outdoor back patio. Brandon also has plans to obtain a liquor license and open a bar in the space next door. The walls of the restaurant are decked out with décor highlighting the culture of Nigeria, from its flags to a bulletin board filled with photos of people dressed in African garb.
From the menu, choose from top sellers including egusi soup, which Brandon says is a stew-like dish thickened with melon seed, cooked with spinach and special seasonings. Additional offerings include okra and vegetable soups. Each is available served with chicken, goat, fish or beef as well as your option of a side such as pounded yam or fufu made from plantains.
“I love all the soups. They’re really good and are made from family recipes. I could eat them every day,” she says. “When people come here to eat, they say it’s like the way their moms made it in Nigeria.”
Additional traditional highlights include yam porridge and baked or fried whole tilapia. Many vegetarian and vegan options are also available and include rice and bean nachos as well as jollof rice cooked with mixed vegetables.
“It gives me joy to meet a whole lot of different people who can testify that the food tastes authentic,” Brandon says. “It’s been a great experience so far.”
The rest of the menu features sandwiches such as a gyro as well as options including chicken wings, catfish nuggets and loaded nachos. For sides, choose from fried okra, plantains, spaghetti and more. Canned beverages include Power Malt, a popular drink in Nigeria.
Ofure Palace is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm and Sunday from 1 to 5 pm.
Ofure Palace, 3108 Cherokee St., St. Louis, Missouri, 314.409.7434, facebook.com/Ofure-Palace-LLC-1128225757349469/