When Jitu Chudasama was laid off from Hewlett-Packard Co. in 2015 after spending 30 years in the technology industry, he and his wife, Hema, decided it was time to live out their dream and open their own restaurant.
The Chudasamas opened Namaste Indian Restaurant off Sawdust Road in Spring in May 2015. Originally from Gujrati, a northern state of India, the couple’s heritage is celebrated through the restaurant.
“Cooking and meeting people always have been my passion—so I always kind of wanted to open a restaurant—that was my dream,” Jitu Chudasama said. “Not many people get to live their dream, and I had the opportunity to get into the restaurant business so I took it.”
The eatery specializes in northern Indian cuisine while also dabbling in some southern Indian dishes and fusion foods, which combine more than one type of cuisine. Namaste boasts authentically trained Indian chefs, who have a combined 40 years of experience in the kitchen, he said.
“If you look in The Woodlands and Spring areas, Namaste is the only restaurant that serves authentic north Indian food,” Chadasama said. “I have yet to impress a lot of locals—Texans—to come out and try Indian food, but the people who are already familiar with Indian food already know how good it is. It’s a different type of cuisine, and I think you have to try it to like it.”
With more than 100 items on the menu, the restaurant has both vegetarian and nonvegetarian options. Some of the most popular items include chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, lamb curry and a variety of dosas, which are rice batter and lentil crepes. Namaste also offers 10 different types of freshly baked nan as well as unique Indian beverages, such as mango lassi, which is a yogurt-based drink, mint lemonade, Indian soda and Indian beer.
Namaste offers a lunch buffet daily from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and an a la carte dinner menu every day from 5-10 p.m. The buffet costs $10.99 and includes 18-20 items to choose from on a daily basis, including appetizers, entrees and desserts.
“At my restaurant everything is made fresh, but it’s at the price of fast food,” Chudasama said. “You get a freshly cooked meal here for $10.99, and you get 20 items—if you were to go to any fast-food restaurant, you wouldn’t get 20 items for $10.99. I buy fresh produce twice a week and I buy the best ingredients available, and I take a lot of pride in that.”
Namaste also has an extensive catering menu specializing in different regions of India and can host private parties for up to 30 people in the main dining room upon request.
Now in their second year of business, the Chudasamas said they are hopeful more Houston residents will be able to experience their culture’s cuisine in the future.
“I want to expand and build another restaurant in the Houston area—that’s my dream or goal for 2017,” he said.