In the heart of Seattle, United States, there exists a modest eatery that has been creating quite a stir – Lims Nyama Choma. This unassuming restaurant has found its niche in serving up a cherished Kenyan street food delight known as Mutura, captivating the hearts and taste buds of Kenyan expats and adventurous food connoisseurs in the USA.
The mastermind behind this culinary sensation is none other than John Kamau Karanja, a man driven by both an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep-seated love for Kenyan cuisine. Hailing originally from Limuru, Kenya, Karanja’s path to culinary prominence was anything but straightforward.
Before the establishment of Lims Nyama Choma, he toiled as a plumber in South Sudan and peddled curios in South Africa and Zambia, all in a relentless pursuit of making ends meet. However, fate intervened when he won the green card lottery in 2013, granting him the golden opportunity to chase his dreams in the land of opportunities.
Karanja’s culinary journey commenced when he prepared Nyama Choma, a delectable Kenyan grilled meat delicacy, at a friend’s gathering. “One memorable evening at a friend’s party, I whipped up some Nyama Choma for them, and they were thoroughly delighted. Days later, I began receiving calls from various people asking me to cook Nyama Choma for them in exchange for a fee,” Karanja shared in a previous interview.
Encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response, he took the leap into the restaurant business, giving birth to Lims Nyama Choma. Despite the inherent challenges of establishing a business in a foreign land, Karanja’s determination and the unwavering support of his family formed the cornerstone of his success.
His wife, Caroline Kamau, became the linchpin of the kitchen, infusing each dish with genuine Kenyan flavors. Their sons, Simon Kamau and Steve Kamau, contributed their respective skills as a waiter and an accountant. What started as a family venture swiftly flourished into a culinary sanctuary for Kenyans craving the tastes of their homeland and local Americans eager to explore the rich tapestry of Kenyan cuisine.
Lims Nyama Choma evolved into more than just a restaurant; it became a cultural conduit, uniting people through the universal language of food. Karanja’s commitment to providing an authentic Kenyan experience struck a chord with customers from diverse backgrounds, including Kenyan expatriates, South Africans, and locals with a curiosity for global cuisines.
Each dish presented at Lims Nyama Choma is not merely a meal; it’s a voyage through the vibrant flavors and scents of Kenya. Yet, what truly sets Lims Nyama Choma apart is not just its delectable offerings but the sense of community it nurtures.
This restaurant, open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 am to 10 pm, has transformed into a cherished gathering spot, uniting the Kenyan community in Seattle and enthusiasts of Kenyan cuisine alike.