Nestled on 2923 Walnut Bend Lane, Dakar Street Food has quickly become a local favorite for those seeking an authentic taste of West Africa. With a remarkable 4.9-star rating on Google, based on 165 reviews, this hidden gem is making waves in the Houston foodie scene. Co-owned by Makhtar Fall and Thierno Ly, Dakar Street Food first started as a catering business in 2017 before officially opening its doors in August 2021.
At the heart of this culinary venture is Makhtar Fall, the main chef. You will most likely find him cooking in the kitchen any time the restaurant is open, his smile beaming and his joy contagious. Originally from Senegal, Fall’s journey to the United States led him to Houston, where he attended school at Houston Community College’s Westchase campus. Living near Wilcrest and Briar Forest, he noticed a glaring absence of authentic Senegalese food. During phone calls to check in with his mother back in Senegal, he began asking her how to make the dishes she made for him growing up. His mom walked him through the recipes over the phone, and Fall began cooking for his friends. Fueled by his love for his mother’s cooking and a desire to share his culture with others, Fall embarked on a mission to bring the flavors of Senegal to the diverse community of Westchase District.
Senegalese cuisine is a vibrant fusion of West African, Caribbean, and Arabic influences. Dakar Street Food’s menu showcases a variety of mouthwatering dishes that have quickly become customer favorites. Among the most popular items are the succulent jerk chicken, the tender dibi lamb or chicken, the rich oxtails, couscous, and delicious bouye and bissap drinks.
Senegal, located on the western coast of Africa, is a country known for its vibrant culture, warm hospitality, and rich history. Fall explained, “The Senegalese people take great pride in their cuisine, considering food as a means to praise God and a way to bring joy to others. The flavors, colors, and aromas of Senegalese dishes are a testament to the country’s diverse cultural heritage.”
In the two years since its opening, Dakar Street Food has experienced remarkable growth. Word of mouth and social media have played a significant role in attracting a steady stream of customers, with Saturday dinners being particularly busy. The restaurant comes alive with excitement when the Senegal national soccer team takes the field, creating a vibrant atmosphere that reflects the deep passion for both food and sports.
Sharing food and culture
Beyond serving customers at the restaurant, Dakar Street Food also offers catering services for businesses, large groups and events. Fall sees his restaurant as an opportunity to showcase the flavors of Senegal and educate others about his culture. He added, “Hospitality is at the core of my mission, and I take pride in creating dishes that bring joy and happiness to my friends and customers.”
Fall loves the people of Westchase and has appreciated all of the improvements made by Westchase District outside his restaurant on Walnut Bend. The addition of landscaping and other improvements adds to the ambiance and charm. Inside, Dakar Street Food is continuously striving for excellence, with plans for bathroom renovations underway to enhance the overall dining experience.
Dakar Street Food is a gateway to the vibrant and diverse culture of Senegal. Makhtar Fall’s passion for his heritage and his commitment to creating extraordinary dishes have garnered the attention and admiration of the Westchase community. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or simply looking to expand your culinary horizons, a visit to Dakar Street Food is an absolute must.