Portlanders now have the chance to try khinkali for lunch just for 6 dollars. It`s been several weeks since Georgian fast-food restaurant Kargi Gogo opened in the US. The owners- Sean and McKenzie worked as volunteers on US freedom corps mission in Georgia. They admit love of Georgian culture and traditional quisine led them to the idea of opening a restaurant.
They consider Georgian food is largely undiscovered, but are amazed how Kargi Gogo managed to become competitive to Thai, Russian and Polish restaurants nearby. Spending two years in Samtskhe-Javakheti gave them the opportunity to try Georgian food, as well as prepare it:
"I remember the first time our host bebia made fresh khachapuri, I thought I was in heaven! Around the dinner table every night, as well as at supras, we tasted so many amazing dishes. We would spend a lot of time at the bazaar, learning about the spices, herbs and ingredients that give Georgian food its unique taste."
Khinkali and Khachapuri are among the top dishes which Portlanders like the most. Badrijani is the also a favorite. Kargi Gogo team tries to use Georgian spices and ingredients and follow all the cooking methods.
The idea of the name Kargi Gogo (good girl) was chosen by the owners for several reasons. Sean and McKenzie say they heard the phrase all the time while they were in Georgia and it has a positive association for them. Turns out, it`s easy for people to pronounce and remember.
Being familiar with the essential details of Georgian cooking helped Sean and McKenzie while opening Kargi Gogo. They say the ultimate measure of their successes is when Georgians taste their food and say it tastes like food from their native country.