KOP Is Getting a Second Fast Casual Indian Restaurant

Choolaah Indian BBQ is set to open mid-September.

Photo courtesy of Choolaah

With the recent opening of Philly favorite Tiffin at a shopping center less than a mile away from the King of Prussia Mall, the newest occupant of the KOP Town Center will make two fast-casual Indian operations in the area. Which is surprising only because, at the end of spring, there were zero.

But Choolaah Indian BBQ (part of a three-store chain based in Cleveland) is something different. It’s modern Indian. Healthy Indian. Indian made for our quick-serve age.

Which is why its so surprising to me to see those big tandoor ovens behind glass in the dining room.

There is nothing modern about a tandoor. Along with the pho pot, the Dutch oven, it is almost the image of old-fashioned, traditional cuisine.

And yet Choolaah uses them every day to turn out food that is both ancient and modern, traditional and healthy, Indian and American. They use spices imported from India and salmon from the Faroe Islands. The paneer comes from a family recipe used by the founders, but it’s made by Amish cheesemakers in Ohio.

In keeping with the new style in fast-casual, nearly everything is bowl-based (lamb tikka masala bowl, veggie biryani bowl, tofu and veggie BBQ bowl), and what isn’t in a bowl comes as a burrito. Or a wrap, I guess, technically, but it’s meat and veggies wrapped in whole wheat naan and made for eating on the go. A burrito by any other name.

The menu is big, covering all the basics of Indian snacks, meals and salads. Everything costs around ten bucks. Everything is done as quick as it would be at any Chipotle — these bowls of daal and chickpeas and basmati rice. There’s a condiment bar with sauces of varying heat, a kids’ menu (naan pizza and the like), and desserts like cardamom kulfi and mango lassi. It looks good. And if Indian restaurants (not named Tiffin) have difficulty taking hold in the city, maybe they can find a place in the ‘burbs. You know, right down the street from Tiffin.

Choolaah’s public opening is Friday, September 15th.

Choolaah Indian BBQ [Official]