Austin’s pioneering Indian restaurant reopens after a year-long closure


More than a year after announcing its closure, the impeccably draped Indian restaurant on Rainey Street, G’raj Mahal, has sprung up. Led by Ben Runkle – founder of upscale butchery Salt & Time – under the Present Tense Hospitality brand umbrella, a new G’raj Mahal will open in East Austin in late 2022.

Chef and restaurant founder Sidney Roberts is involved as a partner in the new location, after his 14 years on Rainey. “Bringing G’Raj Mahal back to Austin means a lot to me,” Roberts said in a statement. “I am very grateful to Present Tense Hospitality for helping to achieve this goal and look forward to a great partnership.”

There will be some adjustments to the restaurant, but that’s no stranger to change. G’raj Mahal was established as a food trailer in 2009, making it one of the original members of Austin’s growing food truck scene. It moved to its brick-and-mortar in 2014, becoming known for its organic ingredients and options suitable for many diets, where it remained until it closed last summer.

In its new incarnation on Manor Road, G’raj Mahal joins staples such as Hoover’s and Dai Due, and will add a Texas twist to its Indian roots. It doesn’t sound the same as Tex-Mex, but this Tex-In joint will serve tikka masala beef brisket, tandoor-style smoked chicken, and “Bombay burritos.”

“G’Raj Mahal is a beloved Austin institution that we missed last year,” said Natalie Davis, Creative Director of Present Tense. “We’re proud to partner with Sidney to grow the brand and bring G’Raj’s fun, energetic and laid-back experience to East Austin.”

The revamped G’Raj Mahal does not yet have a website, but it does have a mailing list you can subscribe to here.


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