Pal Cheema, co-owner of India House restaurant on Grand Avenue, has dedicated his life to bringing Indian cuisine to others. He was born in Punjab, a state in the northwest of the Republic of India – and came to the United States in 1982. Cheema opened his first restaurant in Buffalo, New York in 1989.
After several years in New York and Chicago, he moved to Minnesota. He notes that when he arrived in the Twin Cities there were no Indian restaurants. Since then he has owned and opened a number of Indian restaurants, including a Taste of India restaurant in St. Louis Park, which he owned for more than fifteen years and sold five years ago. At this time, apart from the Grand Avenue restaurant, Cheema owns an interest in an Indian restaurant in Minnetonka.
Five years ago, Cheema dined at the restaurant that would eventually become the location for India House. He recognized that Grand Avenue had no Indian restaurants and, because Grand Avenue seemed a prime location, opened India House at 758 Grand Avenue—between Grotto and Avon. The restaurant draws most of its customers from the neighborhood.
The cuisine is authentic: India House features Tandoori dishes, dishes cooked in the traditional Punjab manner. Tandoori items include breads, lamb, and fish. Cheema is particularly proud of the lamb dishes and Chicken Tikka Masala—the restaurant’s most popular dishes. Vegetarian dishes, a mainstay of Indian cuisine, also feature prominently on the menu and often incorporate spinach, eggplant, and lentils. India House also offers a number of Biranyis, another Punjabi specialty dish including curries and rice.
India House is open for lunch and dinner every day of the week and has a daily luncheon buffet, as well many items available for take-out. Its website is found at www.indiahousestpaul.com.
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