Some of the most common complaints lodged against restaurants opened by immigrants have nothing to do with the food. American-born eaters are prone to fret about purely functional bathrooms designed by cash-strapped entrepreneurs, or to lament the harsh lighting that's a hallmark of the strip malls where many first-time restaurateurs locate.
None of those grievances would be considered legitimate in the context of Sweet Savor, the Charleston area's first Nigerian restaurant. Dayo and Adegbuyi Ogunbule's spiffy new restaurant is comfortably furnished and brightened with fresh coats of orange wall paint.
The Ogunbules have retained a pair of mesobs (woven baskets that hold food) from Ethiopian Taste, the venue's previous occupant, but the menu at Sweet Savor is thoroughly Nigerian. Available specialties include meat pies, jollof rice, beans and plantains, pepper stew and ogbono soup, served with pounded yam.
“We marinate our soup with melon seed and spices,” Dayo Ogunbule told The Post and Courier. “Most Caucasians and African-Americans that try our soup, they come back.”
While Ogunbule describes the Lowcountry's Nigerian population as “exploding,” he and his wife predict their customer base will include a wide range of cultural backgrounds.
“We're open for everyone who likes good food,” he says.
Sweet Savor is open 11 a.m.-p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday. The restaurant closes on Sundays.
For more information, call 647-1792 or visit sweetsavorafricanrestaurant.com.