Esther’s African Cuisine (12980 West 87th Street Parkway) has closed in Lenexa, but owner Esther Mulbah will continue serving African cuisine via a new catering operation. A warm woman, who was in the dining room as often as the kitchen, her demeanor was as big a draw as her food. Mulbah announced the decision to close her 11-month old restaurant on Facebook yesterday:
First the not so good news. I am sorry to announce that we will no longer be serving DINE-IN. We are moving! The reason is that our NEW landlord raised our rent fees over $500.00 extra each month. This is over 30% in addition to our rent, CAM charges, utilities and more. This is too huge for a small and new business like ours in less than a year. The good news is that we will ONLY concentrate on providing you with awesome catering. We are partnering with a great company to use their commercial licensed kitchen to cook from. We are very excited because our fees to operate from there are affordable!
For those not familiar with Mulbah, The Pitch’s Charles Ferruzza wrote about the Liberian native’s incredibly story back in 2013. She got her start with just a table in the specialty grocer New Century Imports (9926 West 87th Street, Overland Park). A widow with five children, she opened her own restaurant last April, dishing up kebabs, baked tilapia and Jealof rice (made with shredded chicken, carrots, onions, peas and tomatoes).
Mulbah has posted the full catering menu, which will have that Jealof rice, collard greens (a must order), fried plantains, and Mandazi and Kala (East and West African donuts). The phone number will remain the same. You can place an order at 913-526-6993. Mulbah is asking for 24 to 48 hours notice.