Indian restaurant debuts in downtown Stamford
STAMFORD — For the past few years, many Nutmeggers have traveled across the state line to enjoy an Indian meal. They can now find the same experience here.
Adyar Ananda Bhavan opened this month at 1033 Washington Blvd., joining another restaurant of the same name that has operated since 2013 in midtown Manhattan. The new vegan establishment aims to build on its existing Fairfield County customer base and take advantage of its downtown location.
“After about six years, we wanted to open a second location, something to provide authentic Indian food to customers in Stamford, Norwalk and Greenwich,” manager Anitha Gounder said last week at the restaurant. “We feel that there is a lot of Indian community here, and a lot of other cultural people who are willing to try our south Indian vegetarian food.”
The menu features south Indian dosas, which are crepe-like dishes of rice and lentils, and south Indian and north Indian curries.
Adyar — whose full name means big, joyful place or home, in Tamil — tries to create an authentic ambiance, said Gounder, who was born in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state. The restaurant’s soundtrack includes Tamil-language songs and the décor features a landscape portrait of the Hindu Meenakshi temple in Tamil Nadu.
The approximately 4,000-square-foot establishment, which seats about 100, stands next to the new Vela on the Park apartment building and across the street from Mill River Park.
“This location stands out and has a wide front,” Gounder said. “People love exercising in this neighborhood and (then say) ‘Let me try something to give me better nutrition.’ People are changing the way they eat and becoming more health conscious.”
Another Indian restaurant, Chutni Biryani and Noodle Bar, operates a couple of blocks away, at 211 Main St., but Gounder said the two eateries are not competing. Unlike Adyar, Chutni serves meat and fish, with chicken, lamb and meat curries.
Adyar has arrived as restaurants continue to turn over in the downtown.
At 1033 Washington, it succeeds Italian restaurant Aria, which closed earlier this year. Aria’s owner had reported disruptions, including falling debris, during the construction of Vela.
Around the corner, at 245 Main. St., Teena’s Apizza closed last month after only five months in business.
In early October, The Factory Bar & Grill, at 259 Main, shut down after a four-month run. Latin-fusion restaurant Aguapanelas, at 84 W. Park Place, closed in late winter, after a similarly short run.
Gounder said she was hopeful Adyar’s local clientele who have frequented the Manhattan restaurant would help the new location last much longer.
Those customers include White Plains, N.Y. residents Dhaval and Puja Mehta and their 3-year-old son, Aaryav.
“We love south Indian food, and that’s a big attraction for us,” Dhaval Mehta said during a lunchtime visit to the restaurant last week. “This is our first time at this location. But we’ve been to the Manhattan one, and we feel everything is on par here.”
A smiling Aaryvan munched on the dosa pieces that his parents handed to him. He needed no smartphone in front of him for this meal.
“This guy doesn’t eat without his videos, and right now he’s eating without his videos,” Puja Mehta said. “That means he’s really enjoying the food.”
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