Chef Angrej Singh prepares aloo gobi, a vegetable curry of potatoes and cauliflower cooked in Indian Spices at India’s Oven at the corner of Ashlan and Marks avenues. Photo courtesy of India’s Oven.
Written by Edward Smith
India’s Oven is now looking at an August opening date for its new location in the Tower District, according to manager Sunny Sehgel, whose family owns the restaurant.
The restaurant will be taking over the site where the old Million Elephant used to be at 1153 N. Fulton St. before it closed in 2015.
They were originally shooting for a May opening, but the permitting process took longer than expected, Sehgel said.
“When we went in, everything was a mess,” said Sehgel.
They had to replace the plumbing, electrical and the foundation, which was the original foundation from the 1920s.
“We’re not the type who just move in,” Sehgel said. “When we move in, we move in for the long term.”
Being in the Tower District, they also had to go through the Tower District Design Review Committee given the historic nature of the area.
The restaurant will feature a full bar, outdoor patio and expanded menu featuring vegan and gluten-free options that Sehgel says will cater to the diverse wants of Tower residents and visitors.
“We’re not just opening a restaurant. We’re trying to be a part of the community Tower already has,” Sehgel said.
The most popular of their already-established fare is their butter chicken and garlic naan, according to Sehgel, which like all of the food at India’s Oven, is made to order.
This means that food can be ordered depending on how much spice people like in their food.
“A lot of people have the misconception that Indian food is spicy,” Sehgel said. “But everything’s made to order.”
Public Coffee House
A new cafe has opened in North Fork inside of the Public Coffee House Ministry that will help raise funds for youth in the area, according to Cassandra Hepburn-Callis, former actress, model and now president of the ministry.
Located in a youth center with a pool table and free wi-fi, the cafe will sell coffee, Italian sodas, pastries and soon paninis. Public Coffee House operates as a nonprofit with a mission to “provide alternatives to the status quo and break the cycle of addiction, depression and self-destruction by providing a public home for the youth.” It’ll have its grand opening on May 12, where they’ll have a free pool tournament, a fire dancer as well as a local comedian, in addition to the cheeseburgers and veggie burgers they’ll be serving.
Hepburn-Callis said she was originally looking to open a cafe in the old Slim’s Koffee Shak when the leader of the youth ministry came to her proposing she open it in the youth center.
“At first I was a bit apprehensive about running a youth ministry but then my husband David spoke to me that night how he felt called to youth ministry and my immediate response was ‘no,’” Hepburn-Callis said. “But then as I was praying about it the next morning I heard God say to me, ‘Do not let that center close. These kids are important to me and they are hurting and broken. I want you to share my unconditional love to them.’”
Her husband, with whom she shares duties of running the youth ministry, brought her out to the area.
She came to North Fork by way of Malibu and Hong Kong before that, where she said she opened the first organic and vegan cafe before she was bought out.
“It’s interesting that God brought me here because it’s the last place I would have thought. I’ve traveled the world and ended up in North Fork,” Hepburn-Callis said.
Now, Public Coffee House is bringing together churches from around the area.
Calvary Chapel of the Sierra as well as North Fork Christian Center work closely with the cafe as well as Grace Community Church and the North Fork Seventh Day Adventist Church.
“The cafe center is bringing the churches together because it’s not a denomination — its a unity movement,” said Hepburn-Callis.
The cafe employs three part-timers as well as Hepburn-Callis, her husband and a number of volunteers.
Hours are Mondays 7 a.m.- 3 p.m. Tuesdays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. when they have karaoke. It is located at 33023 Rd 222 in North Fork.
Tenant Improvements have begun for the newest Butterfish at Palm Place, the shopping center at Palm and Herndon avenues. Rema Koligian, co-owner of the restaurant, is expecting an early August opening.
The restaurant will feature everything the other two locations do — made-to-order poke bowls, online ordering and pickup window and about 50 employees, Koligian said.
“I think it’s wonderful to be able to service more of the northwest part of town,” Koligian said. “It will help those who couldn’t make it out to our Friant location.”
Customers in a hurry will also be able to use the Butterfish app, which gives all of the options as if they were right there in the store. Orders can be placed and picked up from a dedicated window.
Poke is a Hawaiian take on sushi, where fresh fish is served in a bowl alongside a variety of vegetables. Dishes are made-to-order with options for proteins like fish, crab, shrimp, chicken or veggies atop rice, noodles or greens and toppings like edamame, cauliflower, avocado, and Asian pears.
“You don’t have to sacrifice variety and flavor to get a tasty or healthy meal,” Koligian said.
This will be the third location for the restaurant.
In the same shopping center as Butterfish, a new Dutch Bros. is expected to open by mid-September, conservatively, according to Tim Jones, principal developer for Palm Place Investments, LLC. The original opening date was estimated to be March, according to a previous article in The Business Journal, but it appears things have been pushed back. Dutch Bros. was not immediately available for comment.
Not only will the new location provide a walk-in model, much like the location at Shaw and West avenues, but the new location’s drive-thru will also accommodate more drivers — between 14 and 16 cars waiting at one time, according to owner Brent Wilson in a previous interview.
Dutch Bros. is known for its coffees and blended drinks.
This will be the sixth location for the coffee shop.
The Lime Lite
The Lime Lite revealed its newly expanded patio area on the weekend of May 5.
New concrete, tables, chairs, booths, lighting, a mural and a new garden were put in by contractors over the course of about four weeks.
“We were anticipating doing this last November, but not wanting to rush into the holiday season, we put it off until just this past month,” said Noelle Musto, general manager.
The new patio will seat about 65 people.