The setting is green, lush and open to the sky. The air surrounding the park is clean and fresh with bust-high palm fronds carefully positioned all around, waving and dancing to the sway of the cool South-West winds blowing gently through the garden park.
Here, many come with family and friends just to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery, to eat or do a take-away of the eatery’s special offer of chicken and chips, a favorite of many, no doubt from the way people troop in and out of the popular CHIKENZA Park & Restaurant located at the roundabout that connects Lodge Road and Alu Avenue with Race Course Road in Nassarawa GRA, Kano. Using Google Earth map to view Chikenza via satellite, one can easily see its green triangular shape kissing the roundabout at its Northern axis.
CHIKENZA sounds exotic to the ear. It should, because the name is unique and different. It was derived by combining the word “Chicken” in English and “Kaza” its translation in Hausa, the main language spoken in Northern Nigeria and one of the top 3 major ethnic groups in the country.
Chicken seasoned with variety of spices, be it African Roasted or its Crispy version with hot fried potato Chips and tomato/pepper ketchup served full or half at CHIKENZA can best be described as “yum-yum yummy!” Their barbequed “suya” of chicken gizard, lamb kidney or cow Liver is to be missed only at any one’s taste buds’ expense. Shawarma is an all season’s favorite with ladies and career women, who regularly drop by after a hard day at work to enjoy it there or do a take-away. Another exciting delicacy is their samosas and French fries. These taken with Chikenza ginger drink can rectify a hungry stomach any time.
Opening to the public for business from 1:00 pm i.e. 13:00 hours (GMT +1) and closing by 11:00pm daily Mondays to Sundays, Chikenza Park & Restaurant has been able to establish a solid reputation in its 4 years of existence as a place for eating out in a calm and peaceful environment. The maturity of the clientele says it all, as any discerning eye can see that responsible corporate employees and young executives, males and females form the bulk of its patronizers. Mothers and their well dressed kids are a regular sight too and it is one of the few places that expatriate drive to, to indulge in the food as well as the place’s conducive setting.
Highlights of the carefully landscaped park are a water fountain that welcomes all with its multi color mini pool, earth mounds covered with green grass giving the setting a natural feel, trees, plants and shrubs all contribute to the beauty and serenity of the garden. The gravel covered walk path linking the 2 traditional thatch roofed eating platforms and a third open one left for anybody who desires looking at the stars up in the night sky completes the picture.
For entertainment, each customer has his or her companion to concentrate on while engaging in their ordered servings. As for those who cannot stay away from their favorite TV shows, there is a 42 inch LCD color screen in one of the thatched terraces. Once in a while arts exhibition or some other interests event can be taking place, which often adds to its recreational value. Wedding receptions, End of Year celebrations by various corporate organizations do happen there too. All these, coupled with regular meetings by different groups which are also allowed to hold. None of which interferes with the smooth operations of the open-to-the-sky restaurant due to Chikenza’s sound management team as led by the General Manager Mohammed Bala Nuhu.
Free from any form of harassment or insecurity, many people often come to Chikenza just to sit, unwind and be free from the hustles and bustles of life. And no waiter or security personnel would tell you to leave just because you do not order a meal or anything on the affordable menu, which starts off with as low as a mere N50:00 i.e. about USD0.35cents.
Vehicles’ parking is ample and often cars parked are given special attention by the highly alert security personnel who are not only courteous but also ensure free flow of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
Children also have a play area with swings and slides at a secluded part of the park, which is accessible over a metal bridge and visible to all parents, wherever they might be sitting.
Asked what led to the success of the place in so short a period, the young CEO AbdulRahman Baffa Yola, a Quantity Surveyor turned restaurateur said with a warm and charming smile “It is our trade secret. But basically we do not compromise on quality of our recipes, courteous services, general hygiene of the park, the comfort and security of customers. We also made all efforts to construct and maintain the landscaping as carefully planned by our architect, thus offering a garden to many who do not have the space or the patience to cultivate one in their homes”
CHIKENZA PARK & RESTAURANT is an eatery like no other in the old, ancient and historic city of Kano, North-West Nigeria. It is indeed an experience to visit and chill-out with loved ones, most especially with an order of chicken or it is “kaza”, chips and their home-made, tangy and refreshing ginger drink, best served chilled. A sure delight any time of the day. Woooh!
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