The Black Tomato: Not Haunted

Enjoying a sandwich at the Black Tomato

Magazine

A sandwich served at the Black Tomato restaurant in Dar es Salaam. PHOTO | CAROLINE ULIWA

By Caroline Uliwa

Posted Saturday, February 18 2017 at 12:26

In Summary

Black Tomato opened its doors in September 2010 at the then Makutano House. Sandra’s passion for good coffee and food is attested by her dedication to the restaurant.

I bit into a delicious grilled steak, ciabatta brown bread sandwich with gooey barbeque sauce accompanied by lightly fried onions, avocados and lettuce at Black Tomato.

The Black Tomato restaurant is situated at the Oyster Bay shopping centre in Dar es Salaam. It was here that I talked with Sandra Mulokozi, the co-owner and manager of Black Tomato, about her journey.

“My friend Rachel Kessy started an initiative called Makutano, with the motto ‘one less plastic bag.’ She called me in 2010 said we’re opening this space in Oyster Bay and we want someone to rent the café at the centre of it. You’ve always wanted to open an eatery,” Sandra said.

Black Tomato opened its doors in September 2010 at the then Makutano House. Sandra’s passion for good coffee and food is attested by her dedication to the restaurant.

“In the beginning, our menu was quite small. We had three sandwiches, three salads, the cheese, meats and breads and the snap basket. Now we have a breakfast menu, and the sandwich menu has grown.”

Initially, her menu was set up by professional chef Anna Maria Wolundrio. The menu still has a touch of gourmet-meets-home-food that marries healthy and tasty. For instance, my order on this day came with the option of either potato or sweet potato fries.

Black Tomato is inspiring for young entrepreneurs. Sandra quit her job in the corporate world and followed her passion. She has faced some challenges, like the closing of Makutano House in September 2012 that forced the young restaurant to close for a short time.

The closing down of the restaurant’s second branch last May was due to the decline of the economy, particularly the decline of the Tanzania shilling against the US dollar.

The price of meals at the restaurant are fair; my sizeable sandwich with sweet potato chips cost Tshs15,000 ($6.7).

Sandra named the restaurant Black Tomato after a place she used to frequent in Canada.

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