Lewes’ already eclectic dining scene will grow later this year with the opening of an Indian restaurant in the now-purple turn-of-the-century Victorian between Heirloom and The Buttery on Savannah Road.
The plans received unanimous approval from the city’s commercial architectural review commission March 1.
The restaurant will be opened by a 10-person investment group that includes Dr. Vinay Hosmane, Dr. Mark Boytim and Dr. Rajani Purandare.
Hosmane said the group has hired an award-winning chef from India to head up the kitchen. He said he’s not ready to provide the chef’s name just yet.
“We’re trying to keep things a little mysterious,” said Hosmane, who met the chef while in med school.
He did reveal that the chef runs four restaurants in India and is well versed in Indian, Asian and Caribbean cuisines.
The concept isn’t quite worked out yet, but the goal is to make the food accessible for everyone.
“We want the cuisine to be something even kids want to come in and eat,” he said. “Even though it might be fusion, the food has to cater to the kids. Parents won’t bring kids unless we have something that will attract a kid’s palate.”
The plan was to open in late summer, but a recently discovered issue with parking may delay start of construction as city council works to resolve it.
“We don’t have a preconceived notion that we have to open by Memorial Day,” Hosmane said. “Our investment group, and chef especially, is a fan of opening when you’re ready.”
When construction begins, passersby won’t see too much change in the architecture. The front of the building will remain the same, and a kitchen will be built off the back, similar to Heirloom next door.
The most noticeable change, Hosmane said, will be the color. It will be restored to the light blue many remember from years ago, he said.
“Restoring that color will bring uniqueness to the property,” he said. “Growing up [in Lewes] that was the color I remember. It’s been requested by several people to restore it to the original color.”
The restaurant will seat patrons on the first floor and on the front porch. Use of the second and third floors is undetermined at this time, architect John Lester told CARC members.
No matter where the group and chef land on the menu, Hosmane said, the food will be great and offer something for everyone.
“A lot of us feel food is medicine,” Hosmane said. “Food is comfort. I do certainly think as a restaurant you have to cater to the beach population. Myself as a physician, I tell patients it’s OK to indulge a little when on vacation as long as you eat healthy at home.”
With that said, the restaurant will be more than willing to offer healthy options and accommodate food allergies.
“The chef works at a large international group of hotels and gets requests all the time, and he’s always willing to accommodate them,” Hosmane said. “Call ahead and he’ll get something for you.”