LOGAN SQUARE — An Indian-Nepalese fusion restaurant has joined Logan Square’s California Avenue.
Namaste Chicago opened a few weeks ago at 2515 N. California Ave., the former home of Japanese-Korean restaurant Gosu.
It’s the first restaurant for Khagendra Ghimire and his three business partners and friends.
Ghimire was a Chicago taxi driver for about eight years until he decided to team up with his friends and open a restaurant.
Two of Ghimire’s partners — Manoj Nepali and Bhishma Thaipliya — each have nearly 20 years of experience cooking Indian and Nepalese food. Over the years they’ve worked at Chicago restaurants like Curry House and Nepal House and in kitchens in Nepal, where they’re both originally from, Ghimire said. The fourth partner, also originally from Nepal, managed a Dunkin’ Donuts.
Ghimire is originally from Bhutan but spent many years in Nepal before moving to Chicago in 2011. He said he and his business partners all live close to one another in Edgewater and met through mutual friends.
“Now we’re like a family,” he said.
With Namaste Chicago, the foursome is aiming to bring traditional Nepalese and Indian food to the neighborhood without alienating any new customers, Ghimire said.
“We are doing traditional food, but we are trying to modify the food to fit the surroundings,” he said. “Let’s say you don’t like spicy, we can match your spice level.”
The menu at Namaste Chicago is vast. Expect everything from Thali, a platter filled with traditional Nepalese bites, to Chana Masala, a popular Indian dish made with chickpeas, tomatoes and spices, and lamb curry.
Ghimire said he and his partners named the restaurant namaste after the Hindu greeting because they want people to feel welcome.
“We want to give something to Chicago, so namaste Chicago,” he said with a smile. “We want to say hello.”
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