LAKEVIEW — A new Indian restaurant will open on Clark Street Friday, bringing Indian family recipes that have been around Illinois for more than a decade to Lakeview.
Royal Indian Grill will hold its grand opening at 3223 N. Clark St. Friday, said owner Ram Sharma. It will serve North Indian food, with lots of clay-oven cooking and curries.
The Sharma family has owned five restaurants in the state for more than 10 years, including three in Urbana-Champaign, one in Evanston and one in Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park's Indian Grill, 2258 N. Clark St., closed earlier this year after the landlord did not want to renew the lease, Sharma said.
But Lakeview's Royal Indian Grill will offer an expanded menu compared to the other spots, Sharma said, including healthier options. Diners can now request white meat instead of dark meat in curries, and there will be more vegan and gluten-free options, too.
Sharma and his brothers learned to cook from their dad, Pikka Ram Sharma, who's been a chef in Chicago since he moved here in the '70s at places across Devon and downtown, Ram Sharma said.
"It's a family business," he said. "We learned watching him and carried on the business."
At one point, they even opened a restaurant called Sitar in Omaha, Neb. But despite its success, they left because their mom didn't like the town, Sharma said with a laugh.
"It was very quiet," he said. "There was no diversity there. My mom couldn't go anywhere or hang out anywhere."
Chicago is better, he said. Sharma lives in suburban Skokie and has been wanting to open a restaurant in Lakeview for a while now, he said. Several Indian spots in the neighborhood closed, and Sharma saw an opening.
Royal Indian Grill, which seats about 70 people, is BYOB and will eventually offer lunch buffets on the weekend. Entrees cost between $9 and $16.