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
But none of that is necessary
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
“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.]
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