Colombia’s Go-To Restaurant Chain Joins Forces with Renowned Chef Richard Sandoval to Launch a New Restaurant Concept in Brickell, April 2012
Kokoriko, Colombia’s wildly-successful chain of restaurants specializing in rotisserie chicken, has partnered with veteran restaurateur and renowned chef Richard Sandoval to expand Kokoriko into the U.S. market with the launch of Kokoriko Natural Rotisserie. For the new brand, Sandoval – respectful of Kokoriko’s heritage – has developed a menu that both honors its 45-year history and modernizes its concept and flavor profiles. Making its U.S. debut in mid-April 2012 at 1111 SW 1st Avenue in downtown Miami’s Brickell area, Kokoriko Natural Rotisserie will bring a new incarnation of Colombia’s affordable, fast-casual eateries to Brickell’s ever-growing restaurant and nightlife district.
The company’s conviction has always been to give people a reason to unite around a dining table, so when Chef Sandoval, who is considered “The Father of Modern Mexican Cuisine,” was introduced to Kokoriko during a culinary excursion to Colombia, he fell in love with Kokoriko’s high-quality, affordable food.
“It reminded me of my younger days, growing up in Mexico where I would gather around the dinner table with my family, enjoying lavish feasts prepared by my grandmother,” says Sandoval. In fact, Kokoriko’s rustic Colombian flavors so strongly captured Sandoval’s attention that he decided he needed to be part of the company’s expansion into the states by partnering with CEO, Eduardo Robayo.
“We couldn’t pass on the opportunity to team up with Chef Sandoval at such an exciting time in our company’s history,” says Robayo, whose father founded Kokoriko in 1967. “We’ve been eager to bring Kokoriko to North America and he was the perfect chef to partner with to helm our expansion.”
With Sandoval’s vision to create a chef-driven, modern interpretation of Kokoriko (a generic term for rotisserie chicken in Colombia) he keeps true to the essence of what makes Colombian diners have such an emotional bond to this chain of restaurants. For Kokoriko Natural Rotisserie, Sandoval has taken Kokoriko’s traditional recipes, including the original secret chicken marinade, and infused them with the vibrant flavors of Latin America. The restaurant’s affordably priced menu – with an average check of $20 per person – will feature a selection of enticing chicken specialties and Latin American comfort foods.
Slow-cooked to perfection on an open rotisserie, Kokoriko Natural Rotisserie’s free-range, all-natural chicken will be marinated for at least 48 hours in both the original and chef’s signature marinade – a blend of Kokoriko’s secret marinade, mixed with Chef Sandoval’s blend of achiote and seasonings from country’s like Venezuela, Colombia, and Peru. Offered for dine-in or take-out and available in quarter, half, or whole portions, guests can add their choice of one or two side dishes for an additional fee.
The menu will also boast an assortment of signature dishes, including a juicy, grilled half boneless chicken “churrasco,” jicama cucumber salad and Sandoval’s twist on a popular Venezuelan dish, tempting corn cachapas pancakes – available plain or with a cheese and tomato jam filling.
A Colombian-style creamy potato and chicken soup, ajiaco, will be made with capers, corn and avocado. Refreshing fresh cut salads, served with house-made vinaigrettes, will include the Kokoriko chopped salad with rotisserie chicken, tomato, bacon, cucumber and jack cheese, tossed with a creamy avocado dressing.
Delicious sandwiches, arepas and tacos will include an oven-roasted vegetable sandwich with a medley of vegetables, portabella mushroom, jack cheese, watercress salad and chimichurri as well as mouth-watering arepas – a Colombian corn cake – filled with a choice of chicken salad or BBQ chicken. Tacos served in flour tortillas, such as tinga – pulled rotisserie chicken, spicy tomato sauce, black bean puree and pico de gallo – are inspired by Sandoval’s Mexican heritage.
Sides will run the gambit from yucca fries with citrus mojo; crushed baby potato “tostones” with truffle chimichurri; creamy aji amarillo cole slaw; and Latin-style corn on the cob with creamy chipotle sauce and queso fresco. House-made salsas, to be served a la carte and designed to complement any dish, include chipotle BBQ; habanero salsa; and rocoto pico de gallo.
Desserts will include a luscious cheesecake drizzled with tomato jam and sweet plantains covered with cheese and guava or cheese and caramel. The restaurant will offer a fine selection of organic, reasonably priced wines-by-the-glass and house-made sangria, offered by the glass or pitcher. Domestic and imported beers and a number of non-alcoholic beverages will also be available.
For their flagship 3,000 square foot Miami location, housed on the street level of the Axis building in Brickell, the talented team at Miami’s SOW Design Studio has created a rustic yet modern look for the restaurant; accommodating 78 guests in the dining room and an additional 76 in the patio area. To ensure that Kokoriko Natural Rotisserie’s interior design is consistent with the brand’s style, a focal-point of the dining room will be an open-kitchen with a rotisserie oven. Here, designers have incorporated recycled materials and the craftsmanship of local artisans, such as walls covered in reclaimed wood from barns and brick, reminiscent of Colombia’s countryside. Table-tops made of petrified tree trunks will be accented by bench-style banquette seating. Hanging from the walls, over-sized mirrors will reflect bouquets of fresh flowers imported from Colombia, encompassing bright-colored roses, orchids and carnations.
Chef Sandoval’s culinary repertoire has allowed him to become one of the world’s most influential Latin chefs. From fine dining to fast casual, the Mexico City native and James Beard Award nominee, has introduced diners of all walks to contemporary Latin cuisine. His restaurants explore every facet of Latin cooking while staying true to his culinary mantra “Old Ways, New Hands” by combining authentic Latin ingredients with international flavors and cooking techniques to create new and popular Latin dining experiences.
Expected to unveil several new restaurants across the United States, Kokoriko is embarking on an international expansion with the opening of Kokoriko Natural Rotisserie in downtown Miami’s Brickell area. Scheduled to open mid-April 2012, the restaurant will be located at 1111 SW 1st Avenue, right off of Brickell Avenue, directly across the street from the Brickell Avenue Metrorail and Metromover station. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner daily from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. All major credit cards will be accepted. Valet, ample municipal and metered parking will be available. Telephone: (305) 822-5599.
A leader in fast-casual dining for more than 40 years, Colombia-based Kokoriko adheres to its traditional, high-quality flavors and secret family recipes. Known for its all-time favorite rotisserie chicken, the company currently has 110 locations throughout Colombia and one in South Florida. In April 2012, the company will introduce a new culinary concept to the U.S. market with the opening of Kokoriko Natural Rotisserie, which is a modern interpretation of the original brand, created by celebrated chef/restaurateur Richard Sandoval. Today, Kokoriko has grown to become the largest chicken restaurant chain in Colombia and, in recent studies, the chain with most visibility and brand recognition by consumers.