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The Tastes of India: Morris caters to a new market

Michele Kriegman
1993, 'The Tastes of India: Morris caters to a new market', Daily Record,--:B1-B2.

Imagine a party where the richly spiced scent of rashmi kebab – ginger, garlic, onions – mingles with the warm aroma of aloo tikka, a fried blend of herbs, chick peas, white potatoes and peas.

The women wear saris the colors of gems, and the feel is more Bombay than Route 46.

But the scene is getting to be familiar as a quiet culinary revolution sweeps the banquet halls of Morris County. The Indian population in the area has grown from 2,2000 in 1980 to more than 5,000 in 1990, and growth in the food industry is following close behind.

Today an Indian restaurant or grocery store is only a short ride away for most Morris County residents, and many of non-Indian descent are taking advantage of this. In addition, area hotels feature Indian/Pakistani banquet packages to meet the demand.

“It makes a lot of sense and saves a lot of headaches,” said Mehir “Mike” Meswani of Montville, who is engaged to be married at the Hanover Marriott with a reception catered by Chand Palace of Morristown.

“Before this,” he said, “if you didn’t want to drive to New York City, you’d have to rent a space like the VFW Hall in Boonton or a big banquet hall at a church or Jewish temple. Then relatives would either make everything themselves or arrange for caterers to schlepp it in from somewhere else in a metal pan.”

But none of that is necessary anymore.

The Governor Morris Hotel, Hanover Marriott, Headquarters Plaza Hotel, Parsippany Holiday Inn, Bretton Woods Inn, Neil’s New Yorker, the Sheraton Tara, as well as the Basking Ridge, Brooklake and Knoll country clubs all have co-hosted these kinds of events with local Indian restaurants.

The growth of jointly catered affairs is just the newest crest on a tide of Indian food rolling into this area.

“More and more Americans are getting to know Indian food, so now the majority of our restaurant patrons are non-Indians,” said Bhupinder Singh, who opened the Kashmir Indian Restaurant on Route 10 in East Hanover five years ago. “But catering is newer so most of those clients are still Indian.”

The trend began about seven years ago when Neelam Exotic opened in Berkeley Heights, followed a year later by the Chand Palace in Morristown. Their success attracted more entrepreneurs. Chand Palace has opened a second restaurant in Parsippany, this one vegetarian, and was joined in Morristown by the Taj Mahal restaurant.

In December, Manhattan-based Moghul’s….[See Morris County Daily Record archives.]


Photo caption:

Above, bride Christine Bruckner and groom Swaroop Patel at their wedding at the Governor Morris Hotel. Left, some of the guests at the wedding line up at the buffet table, arranged by the Manhattan-based Moghul’s restaurant, soon to open in Morristown.



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