Elizabeth, NJ 07202
- Credit Cards: All Major
- Parking: Street
- Take Out: Yes
February 14, 2019
I was in Elizabeth, NJ the other day to pick up a pizza at Santillo’s, the iconic 100- year-old pizzeria. Killing 20 minutes while Santillo’s oven worked its magic, I walked up South Broad Street to check out a storefront restaurant that had caught my eye.
Less than a block from Santillo’s, right next to a Colombian bakery, African Pot Eatery & Bar is only three months old. The sleek dining room has a half dozen dark wood tables, a counter and bar seating. African masks adorn one wall. An extra-large flat screen television was playing West African music videos. (Despite the name, I believe the spot is BYO.)
Patience Osagie, African Pot’s owner and chef, was born in the French-speaking West African nation of Benin. Benin borders Nigeria to the east and Togo to the west. African Pot’s menu features items familiar to Nigerians and other West Africans, like Jollof rice (with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and palm oil), lamb suya (grilled meat marinated in cognac, peanut oil and spices), and Ogbono soup (made with “wild mango” seeds). According to Osagie, her Black Soup, ground bitter leaves and mint with smoked catfish, is the most traditional Beninese item on the menu. In addition to classic West African soups, meat and rice dishes, African Pot serves entrees like braised lamb shank, blackened snapper, and jerk chicken.
My pizza was ready, so I couldn’t stay to sample anything at the restaurant. I ordered some Nigerian fried rice to go, which was a very nice pizza appetizer back home. I hope to return to Elizabeth soon to sample more West African fare, maybe this time with Colombian pastries for dessert.