An Indian fast-food restaurant became the most recent venue to join a wave of new eateries in one of New Haven’s busiest business districts.
Coriander Indian Restaurant, located near Timothy Dwight College at 21 Whitney Ave., hosted its grand opening March 20. The restaurant serves a variety of Indian food such as lamb curry for $13.99, butter chicken for $11.99 and shrimp masala for $16.99. At cheaper price points, Coriander offers lunch and dinner specials for $5.99 and $7.99, respectively. Coriander is the second restaurant for owners Bhuban Simkhada and Sahil Bhardwaj, who opened Asian Flavour Indian Restaurant in nearby Hamden last August. The two restaurants share the exact same menu, said manager Money Bhardwaj.
“We have another restaurant in Hamden that has seen success,” Bhardwaj said. “We chose here because it’s by Yale University and there are offices nearby.”
Whitney Avenue has recently seen a new rash of restaurants open. In addition to Coriander, Xi’an Cuisine and a still-unnamed restaurant from Crêpe Choupette owner Adil Chokairy have recently started serving on the street. Before housing Coriander, 21 Whitney Ave. hosted Middle Eastern restaurant Sababa until the fall of last year.
For workers in the area, Coriander adds Indian cuisine to Whitney Avenue’s portfolio of lunch spots.
“I just love Indian food and it’s around the corner from my office,” area-worker Jennifer Wood said while eating lunch at Coriander on Thursday. “I think it is great.”
Along with businesspeople, students also seek out food on Whitney Avenue. As the street is one of the most underrated parts of New Haven near campus, Sarah Donilon ’19, who lives in Timothy Dwight, said she often sees students going out to eat at Great Wall Restaurant and Crêpe Choupette. Most of those students are in Timothy Dwight , and although Silliman College is nearby, she said many students in that college think of themselves as centrally located. As such, they eat out at restaurants located on Broadway Avenue and Chapel Street as opposed to Whitney Avenue.
With a full week of business under its belt, Bhardwaj said the busiest hours for the roughly 12-seat restaurant are from noon to 1:30 p.m.
Though the owners’ Hamden restaurant specializes in dine-in service, Coriander is primarily for take-out food given its location and facilities. On top of nearby workers looking to grab a quick meal, 21 Whitney Ave. has no bathroom, so some people cannot stay long, Bhardwaj said.
Both restaurants offer delivery services, which Bhardwaj said picks up pace in the evening and night. Along with accepting call-in orders, Coriander will begin contracting with UberEATS, Yelp Eat24 and GrubHub to expand delivery to a larger market.
Coriander also joins the Elm City’s rising Halal food scene — places that serve food in accordance to Islamic law. Other Halal food-serving eateries include Tikkaway Fresh Indian Grill, which expanded to Boston last month, and Halal Guys, which opened its doors on Chapel Street last summer.
In addition to its array of Indian food, Coriander also sells Chinese dishes like ginger fry chicken for $10.99 and sautéed shrimp with vegetables for $13.99. Through selling Americanized Chinese food, Coriander will compete with authentic Chinese food carriers on Whitney Avenue like Great Wall Restaurant and Xi’an Cuisine, which Xi’an Cuisine Manager Kevin Guol said will expand its menu mid-April by the restaurant’s grand opening.
Coriander is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and closed on Sunday.