THE DHAMAKA CREW IS OPENING TWO MORE RESTAURANTS IN THE EAST VILLAGE THIS YEAR

The on-fire Dhamaka team is opening two more restaurants by the end of the year, with one on track to start serving around Labor Day, and the other taking over a storied East Village space.

The bigger of the two housed Huertas for a decade: It’s where Roni Mazumdar and chef Chintan Pandya, founders of Unapologetic Foods, are opening up a branch of Adda Indian Canteen, the first of which debuted in Long Island City in 2018. That location will stay open as a commissary kitchen and a takeout-focused Adda, as the new one in the East Village (at 107 First Avenue, between Sixth and Seventh streets) rolls open for dine-in service.

But before Adda opens toward the end of the year, a fast-casual Indian kebab house, Kebabwala, is on track to debut at 82 Second Avenue, between Fourth and Fifth streets, around Labor Day. The restaurant, with less than 10 indoor seats and about the same number outside, is inspired by street grills around India. It has been on track to open prior to 2022. Mazumdar describes it as “a shot in the arm of a Delhi night market, with kebabs, bread, and the whole nine yards.”

Adda, with its simple and traditional menu evocative of the duo’s childhood, helped the team build momentum to open their next restaurant in 2021, the critically acclaimed Dhamaka, followed by Semma later that same year. The latter has landed a Michelin star for two years running, with the restaurant group hatching up new projects in the background. They include fast-casual Rowdy Rooster which debuted in 2022, now with two locations; and Naks, which opened in 2023, with both a tasting menu and a la carte room offering Filipino fare from Dhamaka’s former chef de cuisine, Eric Valdez, who is Filipino.

In a New York Times review titled, “A full-throated defense of Indian cooking,” Pete Wells notes that New York was long on Indian food spins but missing traditional examples of regional cuisines. “Twists on tradition don’t really resonate when tradition is hard to find in its untwisted form,” he wrote. While both Mazumdar and Pandya had previous restaurant experience and ran the now-closed Rahi together, Adda helped them crystalize their vision for the future. The East Village Adda, with around 70 seats and an expanded menu, is a circling back of sorts.

2024-07-10T19:32:17Z dg43tfdfdgfd