Café Namasthe, 1438 E Main Street Suite 12 behind Texas Roadhouse, was ready to open for dine-in customers in March when restaurants all over the country closed their dining rooms because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many locals have discovered the authentic Indian food through their curbside pick-up option, Café Namasthe finally held an official grand opening on Monday, June 16. (Take out, delivery, and curbside pickup are still available by calling 385-287-7544 or ordering online at cafenamasthe.com.)
“We didn’t plan on doing Door Dash or Grubhub or any kind of delivery until we’d been operating for six months or a year, but we had to start that way instead,” said Swetha Korduru. Korduru and her husband, Kiran, are part of the original group of friends and family who met years ago working in the tech industry in Lehi. “We have a passion for cooking, and we would cater for close friends. People told us for years that we should start a restaurant,” Swetha continued.
Before COVID-19 restrictions, the plan for Café Namasthe was to offer bowls and wraps that were easy to pick up during lunch. Under the name of the restaurant on the front door it reads, “Bowls, Wraps, and More.” As Swetha Korduru explained with a laugh, “Right now we’re only doing ‘more.’” Swetha and her brother, Yash Reddy, edited the menu down to only the most popular and best dishes. In terms of menu offerings, “Our goal is quality, not quantity,” said Swetha Korduru.
The dining room at Café Namasthe has only seven tables (instead of the 16 tables in the original arrangement), spaced far apart to accommodate social distancing. The smell of curry and spices wafts through the restaurant and the food tastes even better than it smells. For appetizers, we had Chicken 65, spicy, crisp chicken tossed with garlic, bell peppers, and chili sauce, and Malai Kabob, marinated chicken cooked in Tandoor and fresh cream. Both dishes were tender and delightful, combining unexpected flavors perfectly. We ordered Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala for our main dishes. The Butter Chicken was a smooth gravy with a little spice. The Tikka Masala was a lighter gravy, much spicier and exactly what we were hoping for. The curry dishes came with a heaping bowl of Rice Pulav, the perfect accompaniment to the curry gravy. The Garlic Naan was crisp, chewy, and buttery. The chefs will tone down spicier dishes on request.
“We wanted to do something authentic and have this open kitchen where people could come and see what we’re doing. Everything is fresh and homemade. We want this to be an experience,” said Venkat Reddy. Venkat, Yash, Kiran, and Hari Kumar have definitely accomplished their goal of giving diners the experience of an authentic Indian family meal.
The dining room and kitchen at Café Namasthe was spotlessly clean with sanitized menus and hand sanitizer near the register. The chefs and wait staff wore masks and gloves. We felt safe and welcome dining in the restaurant. Even though their faces were covered, we could feel the smiles from the Café Namasthe family.