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The Team Behind Adda and Dhamaka Plot a Sweeping Expansion in NYC

Plus, the mayor says that he doesn’t plan to reinstate a mask mandate amid rising COVID-19 cases — and more intel

Two men, the chef and owner of Dhamaka, sit side by side for a portrait
Chintan Pandya (left) and Roni Mazumdar
Adam Friedlander/Eater
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Acclaimed restaurateurs Roni Mazumdar and Chintan Pandya lay out NYC expansion plans

They kicked off the year with one of the city’s buzziest new restaurants, and now they’re on an expansion tear. The New York Times reports that restaurateurs Roni Mazumdar and Chintan Pandya of crowd-favorite Indian restaurants Adda and Dhamaka, among others, are supercharging their restaurant group Unapologetic Foods this year with a range of growth plans.

The duo confirmed with the Times that they’ll be expanding in the East Village with two new fast casual restaurants: fried chicken spot Rowdy Rooster, opening in August, and kebab-focused Kebabwala, which is slated to open the following month. In Park Slope, a new, larger Masalawala will open in November and include a retail component. The pair’s existing restaurants are getting a refresh, too. Chef Vijay Kumar, previously of Michelin-starred Rasa in California, has been brought in to revamp the kitchen at Rahi with a menu of regional southern Indian food, to debut in September. Adda will be relocating to a larger spot a mile away and will get a liquor license.

These plans are incremental steps toward the pair’s overall goal of expanding “well beyond New York,” according to the report. “Until we really reach the heart of the country,” Mazumdar tells the Times, “I don’t think we can really move Indian cuisine forward.”

In other news

— Krasdale Foods, a 113-year-old family-owned grocer in the Bronx, will spearhead the borough’s largest solar rooftop project at its Hunts Point warehouse, the Bronx Times reports.

— Stone Barns chef-in-residence Jonathan Tam will be discussing the future of Chinese cuisine with editor and hospitality consultant Crystyl Mo at an event starting at 7 p.m. tonight. The talk will be livestreamed on Zoom; free sign-ups are available here.

New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells makes his way through the many different menus at Mark’s Off Madison and bestows a range of best-in-the-city monikers on the food, including bialys that are “darker and crisper than just about anybody else’s,” and spaghetti with tomato sauce that is “thicker, fuller and redder than just about every other version in town.”

— Midtown has not yet refilled with office workers, and it has been devastating for the food cart and truck economy in Manhattan.

— Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated at a Monday press conference that he does not plan to reinstate a citywide mask mandate despite an uptick in COVID-19 cases in NYC. Instead, he said, he’ll focus on upping vaccination rates among residents. As of July 17, the COVID-19 test positivity rate on a seven-day average in NYC was 1.69 percent, according to city data. While still well below the city’s safety threshold of 5 percent, the current figure is an increase from the 0.90 percent recorded two weeks ago, on July 4, and the 0.57 percent test positivity rate recorded on June 27.

— Ice cream shop Morgenstern’s paired up with architect Stephanie Goto to host an ice cream-laden omakase “experience” at Morgenstern’s Sundae Bar counter starting today and running each Tuesday until August 10. Tickets start at $85 apiece and run up to $360 per person for the optional Dom Pérignon champagne pairings.

— Chelsea Market’s Creamline is launching a beer garden at the market, in partnership with Catskill Brewery, opening on Thursday, July 22, according to a restaurant spokesperson.

— Cannot resist Cheesecake Plant: