Two restaurateurs will see their three-year vision of bringing African and Caribbean cuisine to Lowell become reality in July, as Sahel Restaurant ((8) Sahel Restaurant & Lounge | Facebook) opens its door this month, offering an exciting and unique dining experience to the region.
Sahel Restaurant & Lounge is the creation of owners Emile Kamadeu and Peter Tamajong whose culinary and entrepreneurial backgrounds have blended to bring this 200 seats fine dining restaurant to Lowell. The restaurant, which will also have a 75 seats lounge area, will focus primarily on Afro-Caribbean menu with a touch of French and Cameroonian influence.
Sahel’s is situated in 3,500 square feet of newly renovated space located just about a mile away from the main campus of UMass Lowell. Sahel will be open five days a week, Wednesday to Friday, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Saturday to Sunday from 11am to 2 a.m. In addition to in-house dining, the restaurant will offer a full and complete take-out and catering services as well.
The owners will offer the merger of West African and Caribbean cuisine, brought to patrons courtesy of the culinary expertise of their chefs.
Emile Christian Kamadeu, a Dracut resident, master mind and co-founder of the restaurant, was born in Douala, Cameroon. Restauranting is also in his family; his mother once owned a restaurant in Douala called “Le Bouillon Vert (The Green Soup)” where customers could eat many local dishes but more importantly, the customers were very attracted by the “Green Soup” that was the family’s secret recipe and signature dish. Emile and his partners are planning on introducing “Le Bouillon Vert” to their clientele.
In addition to being a co-founder of Sahel Restaurant & Lounge, he is also the co-founder of Itech Diffusion, LLC), an IT Consulting company and ITD-LiveTV an IPTV provider startup (Streaming of African Televisions in the US, Europe & Canada).
Peter Tamajong, Sahel co-founder and a resident of Roslindale, grew up in Cameroon, an African country which originally had been colonized by France and Great Britain. His parents owned and operated a restaurant there. Armed with an engineering background, he moved to Ireland and lectured on IT, as he later did in the United States when he moved here in 1998. Peter’s restaurant background also included running a restaurant of his own in western Cameroon, called Eitong.
The duo picked the name Sahel because of its connection to Africa. A largely semi-arid belt of barren, sandy and rock-strewn land, the Sahel marks the physical and cultural transition between the continent’s more fertile tropical regions to the south and its desert in the north. “It is the place where many African cultures meet,” says Emile.
Peter and Emile also have strong connections to the Cameroon Social Club (CAMSOC). An organization created in 2003 here in Massachusetts. CAMSOC aims to promote, encourage and sustain good fellowship, social vitality and cultural vibrancy of the Cameroon heritage. With more than 500 members in Massachusetts and 2000 in New England Peter is the group’s founder and Emile serves as chair.
“We are committed to bringing an upscale and unique dining experience to the region,” said Emile. He said, “We have been working for the last three years to turn this dream into reality. With all of the restrictions that COVID-19 imposed upon our region, it has delayed our opening, but it has given us time to continually improve what our offerings will be to our patrons.”
The owners plan to host a formal Ribbon Cutting/Open House ceremony later in the year. “In the meantime, we invite people to come to our restaurant and sample our unique cuisine,” said Peter. “We are looking forward to being part of the community and welcoming our patrons.”