An Indian street food restaurant named ‘Chai Pani’ in Asheville, North Carolina has been named America’s Most Outstanding Restaurant at the James Beard Foundation Awards in Chicago
Chai Pani in Asheville, North Carolina was voted the best restaurant in the United States by the James Beard Foundation. Instagram/@chaipani
An Indian street food restaurant named “Chai Pani” has been voted the best restaurant in the United States.
The Asheville restaurant in North Carolina has been named America’s Most Outstanding Restaurant at the James Beard Foundation Awards in Chicago, Bloomberg reported.
The awards were canceled in 2020 and 2021 as COVID-19-induced lockdowns forced several US restaurants to close.
“We are thrilled to finally be back in Chicago to celebrate the 2022 Restaurant and Chef Awards and bring attention to our industry that still needs support,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation.
“Tonight, as we honor outstanding food and beverage professionals, we also honor our entire industry, and the incredible resilience, courage, talent and leadership that so many have demonstrated over the past two years.”
The Indian-origin restaurant Chintan Pandya in Dhamaka, New York also won the award for best chef at the ceremony.
Chai Pani the exceptional restaurant
A popular Indian restaurant in Asheville, Chai Pani is known for its street food items like Bhel Puri, Sweet Potato Chaat, Chicken pakoras, Sev Potato Dahi Puri and Green Mango Chaat, Aloo Tikki Chaat.
The restaurant also serves fusion wraps and ole Vada Pav, Crispy masala Fish Roll and Keema Pav burgers.
Among other things, they offer a variety of South Indian dishes, North Indian thalis, bowls and desserts.
“Restaurants are so much bigger than the sum of what’s inside the four walls. A restaurant has the power to transform the people who work there, to transform the people who enter it, to transform the communities in which we find ourselves, to transform society. Restaurants can transform the world,” Chai Pani co-founder Meherwan Irani said at the awards ceremony.
The Outstanding Restaurant category is designated for the restaurant that “demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, hospitality and operations, while contributing positively to its wider community”.
Irani has already been nominated five times in the Best Chef category at the James Beard Foundation Awards.
Although the name “Chai Pani” literally means “tea and water”, it is used as an expression for going out for a cup of tea, a tasty bite, a snack or “a little something”.
“Some of the best food in any country is street food, and Chai Pani offers chaat – crispy, spicy, sweet, tangy Indian street snacks with bright flavors. And because there is nothing more comforting and delicious in any culture than a home-cooked meal, Chai Pani also brings you thalis – traditional family meals showcasing the incredible culinary diversity of the region. ‘India,’ the restaurant’s website says.
The restaurant was established by Irani and his wife Molly in 2009. The family business now spans seven locations, including Decatur, Georgia, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia.
According to the website, the New York Times was particularly impressed with their “fresh, coriander-strewn versions of Indian street food”, GQ Magazine praised their “Indian street food with a twang” and New York magazine called him “a star of the downtown food scene”.
The Huffington Post had the restaurant on their “10 Best Cheap Restaurants in America” list.
With contributions from agencies