Indian Cafe, located on Broadway between 107th and 108th streets, shut its doors in late July after more than 27 years in business. The restaurant closed because its lease ended and the new rent was too high to maintain profitability, according to former owner Chander Malik. It’s unknown what new business—if any—will take the restaurant’s place.
Although closing his restaurant was emotional, Malik said it was the most practical option.
“We thought we had a good run, and it’s time to go,” Malik said.
The restaurant hosted a farewell party for customers and friends on July 29.
Most of the restaurant’s customers lived in the neighborhood and patronized the restaurant on a regular basis, Malik said. Many of those customers still email Malik, asking him when the restaurant will reopen.
“It’s like I left family behind,” Malik said.
Indian Cafe was known for giving back to the community. For more than 20 years, the restaurant hosted an annual New Year’s Eve party that offered free food and drinks as a way to show appreciation for staff and customers. It also donated to local community organizations, including the Riverside Clay Tennis Association and Friends of Strauss Park.
Malik plans to open a new Indian restaurant on LaSalle Street in Manhattanville. The new restaurant, which he expects to open during the second week of October, will offer mostly to-go service and feature the same chef.
Still, Malik said he would consider opening an Indian restaurant closer to the former location of Indian Cafe—if he can find a place with reasonable rent.
Some Columbia students lamented the loss of Indian Cafe, which prided itself on authentic cuisine served in an unpretentious atmosphere.
“The food was inexpensive and pretty decent,” Esther Brot, BC ’14, said.
Kelly Luis, CC ’15, emphasized the restaurant’s affordability and quality.
“It’s unfortunate that restaurant closed,” Luis said. “I remember the food was really good—and they offered a student discount.”