LOS ANGELES — One of California’s pandemic-born restaurant chains is looking for a holiday boost.
Tulsi Indian Eatery, founded three years ago, has been pushing Christmas specials to boost its brand and encourage trying new things. This year, they will start the specials on Dec. 18.
While other restaurants offer Indian food in a fast-casual experience, Tulsi Indian Eatery attempts to offer the paying customer an education in regions. With 28 states and a population inching toward 2 billion, India has a vast capacity for culinary variation. Tulsi Indian Eatery hones in on the Northern, Western and Southern dishes, setting them apart on the menu, while some restaurants specialize in just one cuisine.
Antonio Kanickaraj, the director of operations for the chain of four restaurants, was born in Mumbai and spent 15 years in the catering business in India.
“We’re tapping into a category and catering to a huge population of Indians and non-Indians who’ve been craving what we serve: authentic regional cuisines,” he said.
Kanickaraj said they intentionally focused on vegetarian and vegan dishes, leaving out popular items like chicken tikka masala or chicken tandoori.
“In some restaurants, it’s somebody’s uncle or aunt in the kitchen,” he said. “We have a specialized chef for each one in a commissary kitchen.”
While each location has fresh items like naan bread, each can rely on the expertise of the commissary kitchen to provide the specialized dishes.
For instance, the restaurant offers Pan Puri Pot, crispy puffs filled with a bean mixture categorized as West Indian. Ten other items accompany it in the west section, including a type of samosa. The South Indian section has eight items.
The promotion, called the Holiday Celebration Feast, feeds four people for $39, plus a box of desserts for $12. It offers a vegan and vegetarian lineup, switching to vegan samosas this year.
Some vegetarian options include West Indian Khaman Dhokla, a serving of six lentil cakes made from yellow split peas and turmeric, and Gajar Halwa Burfi, or carrot fudge.
Kanickaraj said the promotion has been gaining traction over the years as the chain continues building a name and new locations. The company opened a Westwood Village store four months ago but is waiting to see how it goes before expanding.
“It’s on the right path,” he said. “The volume is increasing month after month.”