Actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas is adding restaurateur to her ever-expanding resume. The global superstar is set to open Sona, a new Indian restaurant at 36 East 20th Street, between Park Avenue South and Broadway, later this month.
Chopra Jonas made the announcement about the restaurant in an Instagram post over the weekend. “I’m thrilled to present to you SONA, a new restaurant in NYC that I poured my love for Indian food into,” Chopra Jonas wrote on Instagram “SONA is the very embodiment of timeless India and the flavours I grew up with.”
Renowned Indian chef Hari Nayak, who operates several restaurants in the U.S., the Middle East, and India, and is also the culinary director of Indian ready-to-eat packaged meals brand Cafe Spice, will lead the kitchen here, according to Chopra Jonas’s social media reveal. In his own Instagram post from the weekend, Nayak noted that he’s dreamed of opening a restaurant in the city for more than two decades but that “It had to be the right opportunity, the right time and the right team — united by the same vision of showcasing my beloved India in all its timelessness yet warmly embracing modernity in flavor and cuisine.”
The project is a collaboration with businessman Maneesh Goyal, who spearheaded the project, and nightlife industry veteran David Rabin, perhaps best known as one of the partners at the clubby Midtown restaurant, the Lambs Club. Goyal cited his parents’ Indian restaurant in Dallas, Texas, which they opened in 1975, soon after emigrating to the U.S. from India, as an impetus for opening his own Indian restaurant some day. “We are hoping to bring our guests back to the golden age of dining,” said Goyal in an emailed statement to Eater. “Indian food, art, music, drinks — served up with a dose of nostalgia and a heap of New York swagger.”
Details about the menu are yet to be announced, but Goyal said in an email that the food will cover several regions in India and the Indian subcontinent: “From the streets of Mumbai to the beaches of Goa to the charm of Old Delhi, SONA’s menu spotlights all that you could ever desire from the subcontinent.”
The restaurant will open at 35 percent capacity indoors and will have outdoor seating as well, but the exact number of seats hasn’t been disclosed yet. The opening date is also yet to be announced but Goyal anticipates an opening “in the next few weeks.”
This is first restaurant project for Chopra Jonas, who most recently starred and produced Netflix’s acclaimed drama film, The White Tiger, based on the Man Booker Prize-winning novel by author Aravind Adiga. In addition to her acting and producing career, Chopra Jonas also released a memoir last month, titled Unfinished, which reached the New York Times bestseller list that month.
As for Nayak, New Yorkers may be most familiar with his restaurant Soul Curry, in Hoboken, New Jersey, in addition to the Cafe Spice prepared meals, which are available in several large grocery stores. He also owns Tandur Indian Kitchen in Knoxville, Tennessee, in addition to a half dozen other restaurants in the Middle East and India.
Sona takes over the space previously occupied by trendy Italian chain Il Mulino’s casual offshoot Il Mulino Trattoria.