Avenue in New Jersey, US that has in the past four years hosted the popular annual July 4 Kenya Re-union, commonly known as Street Bash has changed hands and is now wholly owned by Kenyans.
Located in the Hillcrest area of Paterson, NJ, the hotel that owned a stretch with a cordoned off street that played host to arguably among the largest numbers of Kenyans living in the US is now officially Uhuru Garden Restaurant.
Three Kenyan businessmen living in New Jersey with a strong background in music entertainment, cultural organization and promotion recently purchased the hotel.
|The restaurant, previously Avenue Hotel in New Jersey is set to serve both Kenyan and non-Kenyan clientele Photo:Courtesy|
“Kenyans abroad love their music, food and cultural entertainment as much as they love their country. This New Jersey area has for a long time never had a venue that features Kenyan music, Kenyan cuisine and a Kenyan atmosphere in a setting that is not only elegant but also reflective and reminiscent of the motherland. This is it and we feel privileged as owners to represent our country Kenya,” Said one of the owners, Lloyd Osunga of Umoja Entertainment.
Mr Osunga co-owns the joint with Mike Odhiambo popularly known as VJ One and Kevin Kiguru AKA DJ Kevo- a triumvirate that has served in various roles in the entertainment world including events promotion and Disc Jockeying. Found decorating the restaurant in Kenyan flag colours in readiness for the Christmas and end of year festivities, DJ Kevo said they were getting ready to host a Benga Live Band on Christmas day.
“We are lining up a series of performances starting with Benga Live Band on Christmas day and on New Year’s Eve, hundreds of people from all over the US will be here to sample what Uhuru Gardens has to offer,” He said.
Featuring ample parking, a spacious dining area which doubles as an entertainment section, a fully stocked bar and spacious outside patio, Uhuru Garden is definitely positioned to drastically change the landscape as far as local venues are concerned.
“Uhuru Garden is not a rebranded venue, but rather a transformation to a customer-centric business that primarily aims to serve Kenyan cuisine while continuing to offer late night entertainment,” Said Mr Osunga.
He added “The outside patio targeted to open in spring 2012 is the only of its kind in the area. Outdoor dining will add an extra touch of comfort and relaxation to the ambience of the location”.
VJ One (Mike Odhiambo) told The Standard that at the moment, their business hours are Wednesdays to Sundays from 5pm to 3am. He said they are looking into extending the hours of operation within the next several weeks in order to better serve their clients.
Asked to say why he thinks Uhuru Gardens will not meet the fate of many such Kenyan restaurants that folded soon after opening because of a narrow Kenyan clientele that is not big enough to sustain such business, VJ One said they were seeking to expand the customer base.
“Uhuru Gardens aims to cater for people from all walks of life, meaning non-Kenyans will also get to sample and enjoy the treasures of the Kenyan kitchen,” He said.