Bollywood Grill Restaurant is located in a suburban strip mall in Glastonbury, Connecticut. The outside of the restaurant is very nondescript, but, once you step inside, you are treated to the smells, sights and sounds of India. There is a temple to Lords Ganesh and Lakshmi at the entrance (the money collected at the temple is donated to local charities) and relaxing music playing throughout the space. Customers are greeted warmly and led into a dining room with colorful decor. The smells of spices float gently through the air, but are by no means overwhelming.
The atmosphere in the restaurant is calm and serene.
I visited the restaurant, which I have gone to very often, with a friend who has also eaten there before. I started with a fabulous drink called the Madrasi Margarita. This drink combined the sweetness of mango with salt on the glass rim to provide a treat for the tastebuds.
As my main course, I had the Bollywood Chili Chicken. This dish featured boneless chicken with spices, onion and green pepper. The vibrant red color of the sauce was a harbinger of the spicy goodness that was to come. The chicken was tender and well seasoned. I ordered the spice level medium to spicy and it did not disappoint. It came with basmati rice, which was fluffy with a hint of spice. My dining companion ordered the tandoori chicken, which she said was juicy, crispy and had a great flavor. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meal there, as we have always in the past.
The garlic naan that we ordered with the meal was soft and had a nice garlic flavor.I met with Neha Srivastav, one of the owners of the restaurant (she and her husband are co-owners). They took over the struggling restaurant of the same name in 2013. They bought the business from friends because they were looking for an investment. Having come to the United States from Nepal in 2001 for college, Neha was educated in nursing and her husband is an engineer. The couple have two children, a boy age 9 and a girl who is around 2. It was decided, because Neha took time off from nursing to look after the children, that she would be the one who managed the day to day operations of the restaurant, while her husband would keep his engineering job. She took classes in food safety and learned a much as she could about running a restaurant, since she had no prior experience.
It was tough going at first because the restaurant did not have a good reputation as far as quality of food. Neha hired a new chef after the first year and the restaurant slowly turned around. About a year and a half ago, she also added a large banquet hall, which, in addition to creating income for the business, exposed many more people to the new, improved offerings at the restaurant. The banquet hall is the largest of any of that type in the area, so it attracts many parties, mostly within the Indian community, but also some outside that demographic. The turnaround has been so successful that she now has hired a manager to run the restaurant, while she works full time managing the banquet hall.
Asked whether her son has shown interest in being part of the family business, she responded with a resoundingly 'yes'! He has been given small jobs at the site (including providing entertainment and companionship for children eating at the restaurant with their families) and speaks with pride at the quality of the food at “his” restaurant.
Neha speaks with affection about the long time customers who have her cell phone number and call her with restaurant orders and the children who have grown up coming to eat at Bollywood Grill. She clearly enjoys her role in the business and works hard to maintain the restaurant’s quality and to meet the needs of her customers. She counts about 60 percent of the restaurant’s customer as regulars, but get some new business from people staying at hotels nearby. Instead of doing a lot of advertising, she relies on word of mouth of people eating at events at the hall and the restaurant. She encourages everyone to try Indian food, as there are many variations in the level of heat and the spices used.
I look forward to eating at Bollywood Grill many more times in the future, as I always enjoy my meals there.
2333 Main St.
Glastonbury, CT 06033
About the Author
Nancy helps to build girls of courage, confidence and character in her work with Girl Scouts. In her spare time, she loves to eat all kinds of food, hike and spend time with friends and her two cats, Saffron and Basil.