Kunal Kataria, a tenth-semester entrepreneurship major at the University of Connecticut, recently began his own homemade Indian food restaurant, “Kunal’s Kitchen,” out of his Eagle Court apartment, combining traditional cuisine with a laid-back social setting.
“I’d like to call it a social kitchen,” Kataria said. “A place where friends can come together to share my love for food and socializing… I wanted to create an environment where people could escape the mundane and experience a super fancy, homely meal with great company.”
Kataria plans on becoming a teacher, but hopes the kitchen will be a unique college experience for him and others looking for an alternative style of dining.
“Especially for freshmen and sophomores, who don’t have apartments, you’re dependent on the dining hall or restaurants,” Kataria said. “I know a lot of people who want that home cooking kind of meal, and it’s part of what I hope to achieve here.”
Chloe Jihae Son, a sixth-semester finance major, visited Kunal’s Kitchen on Saturday night. She described the kitchen as having excellent ambiance, combining the food with fitting music and lighting.
“I feel as though going to a restaurant is more than just eating or tasting, but about who you’re sharing the meal with, how everyone’s feeling and what they’re seeing and hearing,” Son said, citing the group seating on the floor around the tables as making it feel more social than other times she’s eaten with friends. “The hole in the wall vibe is also really special.”
Kataria hopes the dining service serves as a social experience as well as a home cooked meal. The menu currently consists of rajma, a mix of rice with kidney beans, egg curry and servings of paratha, an Indian flatbread.
“My father always wanted to open a restaurant when he retired, and I guess that idea intercepted into my brain,” Kunal explained.
Kunal’s Kitchen is currently on UConn Buy and Sell and information about the eating experience is provided on Kataria’s Instagram, @kkataria7.
Samuel Katz is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached at email@example.com.