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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First Look: Teranga Grill Cooks Up Afro-Caribbean Cuisine in Union Station

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Alloco (fried plantain) and attieke (seasoned couscous-like cassava mixed with tomato, onion and hot pepper) on a jerk chicken plate. - MABEL SUEN
  • Mabel Suen
  • Alloco (fried plantain) and attieke (seasoned couscous-like cassava mixed with tomato, onion and hot pepper) on a jerk chicken plate.

At his new Afro-Caribbean restaurant, Alioun Thiam cooks, cordially accepts orders and recommends dishes off of his menu to guests -- all while on crutches. The red, yellow and green-tinged Teranga Grill (1820 Market Street; 314-621-3650) opened in mid-August, filling a corner space on the bottom level of Union Station previously occupied by Key West Cafe.

Vibrant Congolese soukous music plays in the background (loud enough to cover chanting and cheers from the Fudgery a few feet away) as Thiam pours glasses of fresh, cold ginger juice at the bar. He explains that he broke his foot while going after someone who swiped his cell phone; it was when he was managing Culture Vibe, a CD and gift shop located on the upper level of Union Station which he has owned and operated since 2000.

Fresh ginger juice. - MABEL SUEN
  • Mabel Suen
  • Fresh ginger juice.

"It was two weeks before I was scheduled to open the restaurant," he says. "I panicked and chased him down the steps because there was too much information on it regarding the restaurant I didn't have backed up."

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