Indian street food from five-time James Beard nominated chef Meherwan Irani
Chai Pani literally means “tea and water.” It's slang in India for going out for a cup of tea, a tasty bite, a snack, or “a little something.” In Downtown Asheville (and now in Downtown Decatur) it means innovative, fun, affordable and delicious Indian cuisine. We'd go so far as to say it's “mindblasting.”
Some of the best food of any country is its street food, and Chai Pani features chaat - crunchy, spicy, sweet, tangy, brightly flavored Indian street snacks. And because there's nothing more comforting and delicious in any culture than a home cooked meal, Chai Pani also brings you thalis - traditional family meals highlighting India's amazing culinary diversity.
The New York Times was particularly taken by our “fresh, cilantro-strewn takes on Indian street food,” GQ Magazine lauded our “Indian street food with a twang,” and New York Magazine called us "a star in downtown's dining scene.” The Huffington Post had us on their list of "Top 10 Cheap Eats in the US,” and even Fox News called us the "hit of their Asheville trip.” (We're just glad we could get them all to agree on one thing)!
We've made it from Bombay to Buncombe, so step off the sidewalk and into the street – Indian Street Food that is. (Couldn't resist!)
From Bombay to Buncombe and Asheville to Atlanta, Chai Pani has extended our love of food, culinary experience, and storytelling to the southeast. The day we opened CHAI PANI ASHEVILLE in 2009 was a testament to will, love and friendship. We ran out of food by midday. As they say, the rest is history ...
In 2012, we opened MG ROAD Bar & Lounge, our stylishly awesome lounge right around the corner from Chai Pani. The team balances technique & tradition with a level of creativity & innovation that’s been written up from Food & Wine Magazine to The Times of India.
We then opened CHAI PANI DECATUR in Decatur, GA in 2013. It has been included in the 'Best Restaurants in Atlanta' list every year it's been open by Atlanta Magazine and Creative Loafing. Pani Puri nights on Fri and Sat are legendary.
Since then, we've added BUXTON HALL BARBECUE, which features wood-smoked, whole-hog barbecue by Chef Elliott Moss in South Slope, Asheville, NC. Low-country curiosities, southern classics, seasonal pies and pastries, local beer, craft cocktails, rotating punches and a daily slushy.
BOTIWALLA is the newest restaurant from Chai Pani and chef Meherwan Irani. Inspired by the tea and kabab houses (known as Irani cafes) of Meherwan's childhood, as well as the grills (sigris) that pop up on the streets of India at night, serving grilled meats and flatbreads to hungry late night commuters, workers and revelers.
SPICEWALLA is our brand new spice company just down the road from Chai Pani in Asheville. The sourcing, selection, and blending process is personally curated by the master of spices himself, Meherwan Irani, along with his culinary team led by chef de cuisine, James Grogan. Spicewalla has been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Star Chefs Magazine, Asheville Citizen Times, Edible Asheville, Southern Living, among others. Spicewalla can be found in the kitchens of award winning chefs throughout the country.
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