Covid-NYC: Chintan Pandya of Adda

By Chintan Pandya | Jaclyn Warren


Chintan Pandya
Jaclyn Warren
Chef Chintan Pandya of Adda Indian Canteen and Rahi
Chef Chintan Pandya of Adda Indian Canteen and Rahi


We were supposed to open a new concept at Essex Market in April, but that’s been pushed back to August or September. It’s going to be simplified Indian food focused on freshness and grilling. We’re working with a farm in upstate New York to grow Indian vegetables, which will make it unique. Construction on the project started in February and came to a stop. We have no idea when construction will be able to start up again. Luckily we aren't paying rent on that property, yet. A lot of people have been very understanding in this situation. 

In the meantime, we launched a new concept, Biryani Bol. Online, you can preorder lamb, chicken, or vegetarian biryani. It comes in a clay pot imported from India, and you can select to pick-up from Adda or Rahi, with delivery options to come. We wanted to do one very simple concept, focusing on a specific thing. Biryani is a very unique product when it’s done right.


Adda is working with ReThink Food. We supply them with 500 meals a day. We’re also working with Off Their Plate, and those orders can be up to 300 meals a day. We do regular delivery for dinner service only, from 5pm to 9pm. Initially we were only using Caviar and GrubHub. Now, we’re using every delivery platform possible: Postmates, Doordash, you name it. Delivery orders have been quite good. We have a lot of regulars, and people donate to our Gofundme page. It’s not the value of the donations, it’s the emotion of it that we feel. They don’t have to do it, but they’re giving us what they can spare. We have a regular who donated $100
a very nice donation. We noticed a few weeks later that she donated another $100, and that continued every few weeks. We know her well, so we reached out thinking it was a mistake. She told us that everytime she would have normally been eating at Adda, she would now donate the amount she would’ve spent on dinner. 

Rahi is also doing delivery, but with slightly smaller numbers. Rahi gets a lot of foot traffic due to its location in the West Village. So, we’re going to set up a counter on the sidewalk with a grill and a bartender making cocktails. There are discussions of closing down those surrounding streets to set up tables and chairs. They do it in Singapore, and it’s a fun and exciting bonding exercise for people. 


With the amount of orders we’re fulfilling, we’ve been able to keep the majority of our staff. Those who want to work, can work for us. We’ll find something for them to do, and we’ll help supplement safe travel. We’ll do what we can. This is the time to support our staff. In times of crisis, you realize who your real friends are. 


This is a very unique crisis. All of us will have to work through the next steps. At the end of the day, it’s about everybody's safety. If we’re not safe, how are we going to feed people? How are people going to come in and enjoy their food?

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