Instead of taking on the cost of running a traditional dining space, Lali Son owner Surya Sah decided to serve his authentic Nepalese dishes in a gas station.

In a nutshell

Located inside of Leander Quick Mart on Hero Way, Lali Son is a fast food pickup and to-go counter offering a mix of Indo-Chinese and Indian cuisines.

"In this area, you see a lot of Mexican restaurants inside gas stations, but never Indian food." Sah said. "Many people who come in are not looking for Nepalese food and have never tried it."

The backstory

Before immigrating to the United States, Sah worked at the five-star Everest Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal, while attending hospitality school.

Sah said he owned a dine-in Nepalese restaurant in New York City for a few years, but he sold the business when it became too expensive to keep up with.

Deciding that the restaurant industry was heavily reliant on to-go ordering during the pandemic, Sah opened Lali Son in August 2020.

What's on the menu

With over 50 selections, the menu is a combination of American, Chinese and Indian cuisines, from deep fried momos and chicken wings to Nepalese style chow mein and fried rice.

Patrons familiar with Indian food will recognize classics, such as samosas, saag, curry and masala dishes.

"My mom taught me how to cook some of the recipes, but I'm always trying to do something different with them," Sah said.

The present

"We made it a small concept, but we meet a big demand," said Sah, who sees an average of 12 new customers a day, according to the tracking on his point-of-sale system.

Sah said a large portion of his business comes from third-party delivery apps, and signs around the counter promise everything on the menu can be "made in under 10 minutes."

As many restaurants continue to face staffing shortages, Sah said the help he receives from gas station staff on the cash register allows him to only employ two other people to work in the kitchen.

The future

Sah said he began solidifying plans to open another location in 2023, and he eventually hopes to have his own dine-in restaurant.