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Hot address: INDAY

There's a new Indian fast-casual restaurant in New York – and it's getting all the buzz

By ELLE team  August 21st, 2015

You know restaurateur Abhishek Honawar from The Pantry and Woodside Inn (Mumbai). His latest venture, INDAY (New York), is vastly different. We caught up with him: 

It’s been in the works for a while.

“INDAY has been in the works for around two years, slowly building and gaining momentum. We spent nine months looking for a space in NoMad because we wanted to be among the creative energy and young businesses surrounding the area. We found our home in the iconic Saint James building on the corner of Broadway and 26th and couldn’t be happier with our neighbours and friends in the area.”

It’s a fast-casual restaurant. 

“We want to serve meals that are inspired by the vibrant traditions of India, tailored to the way we eat today. At INDAY, you don’t have to decide between eating delicious, interesting food and eating healthy, invigorating food. The story of Indian food is full of energy, history and passion. The flavours, spices and preparations are rooted in an idea that food should provide balance and nourishment. We want to serve balanced and delicious meals, fast.”

It’s roped in a bunch of power players.

“In addition to me overseeing the day-to-day operations we have some of the best minds in business as sounding boards as we develop this concept and push ourselves to do better. In terms of elevating the fare and perception of Indian food here in the US, Phil Suarez [entrepreneur and hospitality icon behind ABC Kitchen] has helped guide the menu and offerings.

As much as possible, our produce is organic – oils, meats, and grains. We’re lucky to have a partner in health food pioneer Irwin Simon (CEO of Hain Celestial), who has helped us with sourcing and distribution on many of our products, including our chicken (Freebird), rice (TILDA) and coconut oil (Spectrum Organics). Finally, we’ve tried to create a better retail experience for our customer, and our partner Glen Senk (former CEO of Urban Outfitters) has helped us think through our brand and communications.”

It’s a pretty, inviting space.

“Our décor is minimalist and modern, with Indian touches. We wanted to distill the energy and vibrancy of Indian colours into it, and create something that was airy, inviting and that had personality. Our building was originally constructed in 1896, so we tried to stay light-handed while bringing it up to date. Our designer was the same as the architect, a wonderful firm called Architecture Outfit. All credit to them in creating the design and retail presence.” 

It’s got seasonal fare, and it’s all made from scratch.

“Our food is light, bright and made fresh daily in an open kitchen from the best ingredients. We want to serve balanced and delicious meals, fast.  INDAY toasts and grinds its spices daily. Everything from juices to chutneys are made in-house.  Our thoughtfully composed dishes are made with local produce, ethically sourced grains, antibiotic- and hormone-free protein.”

PS: You absolutely should try…

“My favourite ‘Warm’ main is comprised of tamarind infused basmati and wild rice, served with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, roasted cauliflower, house-made green chutney and flame-grilled antibiotic-free chicken that has been marinated overnight in our house spices.”

INDAY, 1133 Broadway, near 26th street, St James Building, New York 10010