- LIVE TV
Along Laan van Meerdervoort street in The Hague, Netherlands, lies a Kenyan restaurant, a one of its kind in the country and probably in Europe.
Tucked amidst embassies of over 10 countries, is the creation of a Kenyan woman Ms Gigi Kahariri and a Zambian, Ms Priscilla Steenhuis — 3Stones restaurant.
Evident from its daily operations, 3Stones brings in huge proceeds from the unlimited number of high profile guests who walk in to take meals.
“They are inspired by the need to taste real Kenyan delicacies cooked from the traditional three stones,” Ms Kahariri told Money, adding; “we came up with this idea because there was no proper African food around.”
Having grown up in Kenya, Ms Kahariri joined hands with her friend, Ms Steenhuis to cook foods of Kenyan origin and serve them to the African customer base living or visiting The Hague.
Taking a meal at the restaurant one would be forgiven to think that he/she is in Kenya as roast meat, assorted traditional vegetables, ugali, chapati, swahili rice with coconut among other African dishes are served.
FOOD AND CUSTOMERS FROM EVERYWHERE
And that is not all, at 3Stones, visitors get a chance to discover and taste a variety of other foods from different parts of Africa, the Middle East, India and China.
“We have customers from Belgium, Amsterdam, and the wider Europe who come to 3Stones to celebrate unique events.
This is because we offer hosting services,” Ms Kahiriri said.
She adds that Kenyan communities living in different parts of Europe have already made bookings to celebrate Kenya @50 today, “We get big proceeds from such events because Kenyans spend a good amount of money.”
The restaurant has a wide back yard where customers hold nyama choma (roast meat) parties with a moran clad in traditional Maasai clothing as the chef.
“We hire space for staff parties, cocktails, birthday anniversaries because this is the perfect and exciting location for celebrations,” Ms Steenhuis said.
On such occasions, she adds, they prepare unique buffet-style menus to suit customers.
HOW IT STARTED
They established the restaurant in 2006 when the two women left their jobs to venture into business.
“We saw opportunities for thriving hotel business in this street because of the embassies that surround it,” said Ms Steenhuis.
“Along this street; we have the embassies of France, South Africa, India, Macedonia, Senegal, South Africa, Japan, Kenya and Germany.”
However, banks refused to give them seed capital because the financiers thought their idea was not applicable.
The former hoteliers turned to the knowledge they had acquired studying hospitality at Hotelschool The Hague seeing, them pump considerably little capital to launch the enterprise.
“We were ready to start afresh as individual entrepreneurs because working in five-star and four-star hotels in England and Holland made us very sure of our steps,” Ms Steenhuis said.
The Hague, a coastal city associated with peace and justice attracts visitors from all corners of the world — a factor that these restaurateurs are keen to exploit.
Mostly associated with the International Criminal Court, the city is 24 minutes drive from the special court for Sierra Leone situated Leidschendam, Voorburg.
The restaurant is also cashing in on the increased visits by Kenyans following the trial proceedings of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto who are accused of crimes against humanity.
“Members of Parliament and high profile Kenyans all over Europe jam The Hague during the proceedings, the only place they can find a taste of real African food is at 3Stones,” said Ms Kahiriri, “This is a peoples’ restaurant.”
The enterprise is also diversifying into the tourism industry.
“Usually, most residents of Europe want to explore Kenya and experience variety of service that we offer here as a single restaurant,” said Ms Kahiriri,
“We organize safaris to Kenya for them to enjoy our homeland.”
– Daily Nation