In Good Company
Tenant Success StoriesBringing Cultures Together Through the Joy of Food
BChic Bar & Grill Afro Cuisine
Making sure that all the regions of her native country of Africa were represented in her restaurant was important to BChic Bar & Grill owner Beatrice Forchu.
So, prior to opening the restaurant and deciding on the menu, she did some traveling to the different countries of Africa and watched and learned.
“Cooking is pretty much second nature for me,” said Forchu. “It has been part of my family growing up. My aunties own restaurants, my mom is the best cook ever, and my youngest sister owns a restaurant. But I am a curious person. I enjoy trying new things and I wanted to add to what I hadn’t tasted yet.”
The BChic menu includes authentic Afro cuisine and dishes with a Caribbean flare, including jerk chicken, coconut curry stew, steamed jasmine rice, and plantains. Two of the most popular menu items include fufus (a side dish made with pounded yam) and egusi soup.
Ensuring the restaurant had a warm and authentic atmosphere was also important to Forchu. She wanted to instill the welcoming ambiance that is a big part of the African culture.
As she says, “In the African home, you are always welcome.” So, guests will find a comfortable lounge area at the front and authentic decorations and bright colors throughout the space.
Forchu says it’s important to meet people where they are. This advice also rings true when meeting new customers and opening them up to new cuisines. So, Forchu and her staff do their best to educate customers about what it is they’re about to try and taste, describing the seasonings and textures, and even the background of the dishes.
The authentic Afro cuisine is not only a welcome surprise for those who’ve never tried it before, but also a welcome enjoyment for the large African population in Wichita.
“I actually had someone from Kenya come in with his family and he was very excited,” Forchu added. “He told me he feels like he’s in Mombasa, his native city in Kenya. He said, ‘You know what it means when you get out of church and you actually come in and you’re being served the ugali, the vegetables and the meat just the way it’s served back home… that’s how this feels.’”
Starting a new business venture is not void of its challenges; however, filling a niche that was otherwise missing in the Wichita community helped to jumpstart the restaurant. The restaurant developed a loyal following and customer base, but Forchu was ready for a new location with better visibility. She chose Northwest Centre for its high traffic count at the intersection of 13th and Tyler Rd. Nick Flores, leasing agent for Occidental Management, assisted Forchu in finding the new location and handled the lease for her.
“The curiosity of the cuisine has certainly been a big draw for BChic Bar & Grill,” said Flores. People drive from all over to experience her food.”
Forchu added that she is thankful her passion has turned into a career and encourages other entrepreneurs to do the same.
“If you enjoy something, you can turn that into a career and you will never feel like you are actually working. It’s also important to stay curious,” she added. “I enjoy hearing our African customers’ different accents, stories, and the many ways they cook. Our culture is about celebrating, and our cuisine is to be enjoyed by everybody. So, I encourage others to come and try us out. Let your taste buds try something new. You will be amazed.”
BChic Bar & Grill is at Northwest Centre in Wichita, 8428 W 13th St N, Suite 100. The restaurant offers both lunch and dinner, and has a full bar. Dining options include dine-in, carry-out, special orders, and catering services. For more information, visit bchicafrocuisine.com.