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Nepalese and Newari Cuisine Coming to Uptown

 Momo, Newari dumplings stuffed with buffalo meat.
Momo, Newari dumplings stuffed with buffalo meat.
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UPTOWN — Two Rogers Park men from Nepal plan to introduce Uptown and Andersonville to the flavors of their homeland with Ne:Wa, a restaurant slated to open this June at 5009 N. Clark St.

The duo behind the restaurant is Sanam Shrestha, 33, and Prabal Singh, 28, both managing partners.

"Our main goal with opening Ne:Wa is to serve authentic Nepalese and Newari cuisine, but with a little bit of a modern contemporary touch that will come in the presentation [of dishes]," said Singh, who came to Chicago from Nepal in 2004 and lives in Rogers Park.

Visitors can tear into traditional dishes that incorporate various breads, rice and grains, vegetables, spices and meats popular in Nepalese and Newari culture. Many dishes will feature wild boar, buffalo and bison, which are all more commonly consumed in the partners' native Nepal than in the U.S.

 Ne:Wa, 5009 N. Clark St.
Ne:Wa, 5009 N. Clark St.
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Courtesy of Ne:Wa

Shrestha said he expects Ne:Wa's "momo," which are steamed dumplings filled with buffalo meat, to become a must-eat dish among patrons when the restaurant opens.

The partners are aiming to open the second week of June, said Shrestha, who emigrated from Nepal in 1998 and relocated from Kansas to Chicago in 2004. He lives in Rogers Park.

The restaurant's location is technically in Uptown, but occupies a commercial strip that straddles both Andersonville and Uptown. Yet, it was Andersonville that lured them to the location, said Shrestha and Singh.

"That place is glowing as a potential market. It's a great neighborhood to have a business," Singh said.

Shrestha said there are some ethnic food options in Andersonville, but that the Nepalese cuisine the two men will introduce will be "unlike anything else."

“People [in the area] haven't had much knowledge about Nepalese food and culture so I thought that would be the right area for us to bring light and shed some information," he said.