For today’s Q&A with a New Canaan business owner, we talk to Prasad Chirnomula of Chef Prasad. The Main Street restaurant is taking orders from 12 to 7:30 p.m. every day except Tuesday for pickup or delivery. Last year, the Indian restaurant’s busiest day was Mother’s Day, Chirnomula said, with 400 dinners to-go and customers waiting two hours. The website is taking orders for Mother’s Day now. Here’s our interview.
Takeout Indian food can definitely hit the spot, especially for HBO-and-athleisure nights, but today I want to make a case for the undeniable magic of dining in.
American diners in big cities tend to relegate a lot of Asian (including Indian) food to delivery and takeout nights, never stopping into a restaurant enough to know the waitstaff, the artwork, and the soul of the place. GrubHub and Uber Eats make it easy enough (at an unfortunate cost to the restaurant) to never set foot on the block where you get your Pad Thai.
In the case of restaurants as uniquely and carefully realized as New Canaan’s Chef Prasad, this is where we all go wrong.
When Andrew and I first moved here four years ago, we were tipped off by our real estate agent that Thali, Chef Prasad’s first New Canaan restaurant, was excellent. Coming from Manhattan, we weren’t sure if she was just painting an extra-glowing picture of this darling small town’s restaurants like any good real estate agent should, or if this really was the real deal. We ordered in from Thali, and upon tasting the glorious Saag Paneer, we realized that the real deal was actually here, in an unprepossessing former bank building. What chance!
Chef Prasad, the Indian restaurant going in at 62 Main St. in New Canaan, likely will open for takeout and delivery in the third week of May, and offer full dining service in the days that follow, according to the business’s owner. Prasad Chirnomula said he’s “super excited” to train the kitchen and floor staff to his liking and will soft-open within two weeks. The completely renovated space—new black-and-white checkerboard floor, new ceiling, walls, furniture and decor—used to house “India,” Chirnomula’s eatery that closed in December. Owner of longtime New Canaan favorite Thali down the street before that, Chirnomula said Chef Prasad offers a different vibe from India.
Just a few months after closing New Canaan’s only Indian restaurant, a popular chef who had been serving up high-quality food for nearly 20 years here said that he’s reopening in the same space. Prasad Chirnomula said the new restaurant, to be called ‘Chef Prasad,’ will open in the first week of April following an extensive interior renovation. Chirnomula in December closed five restaurants he owned, including India at 62 Main St., because the large operation “basically was not financially viable any longer.”
Now, with a renegotiated lease and a new backer—his own father, Venkat—Chirnomula said he is eager to reopen in New Canaan and focus solely on that restaurant. “The brand was successful and the restaurant was successful but I think financially it got into a hole at some point,” he told NewCanaanite.com. He added: “I think my name resonates pretty well in town and like the town so thanks to my dad for stepping in to help.”
India had been open for nearly two years, serving classic Indian cuisine and signature dishes.