LITTLE ITALY — Inspired by the packed lunches in Mumbai, a new startup aims to bring authentic Indian meals right to your home or workplace.
Turbotiffin, an Indian meal delivery service named for the midday Indian meal tiffin, launches Monday and is serving a number of Near West Side neighborhoods.
When attorney Kalpana Sabnis Plomin moved to Little Italy 10 years ago, she said she was surprised by how many Indians and Indian-Americans lived in the neighborhood, on the nearby UIC campus and in Presidential Towers in the West Loop. Instantly, she saw an unmet need.
"I would think, who's feeding these single guys, these students?" said Plomin, a co-founder. For Indian students and young professionals, learning how to cook is not always a huge priority, she said.
"Your family really supports you in focusing on academics," Plomin said. "There are people here that want to eat Indian food on a daily basis, but don't have the skills, inclination or the time."
In September 2015, Plomin decided to put her idea into action. She teamed up with Chef Adel Ansari, formerly of Little Goat, and his brother, web developer Aijaz Ansari, and held a few pop-up events at Presidential Towers. After a great response, the trio worked to make Turbotiffin a reality.
Founders Adel Ansari, Kalpana Sabnis Plomin, and Aijaz Ansari teamed up to launch Turbotiffin, a new Indian meal delivery service serving the Near West SIde. [Turbotiffin]
The meals, priced at $8.99-$10.99 each, are available ala carte daily or on a subscription basis Monday-Thursday. The menu changes daily and is available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. A $2 delivery fee, sales tax and a $1 tip for the delivery person on bike is added to each order, Plomin said.
Monday's menu includes Aloo Gobi, cauliflower and potatoes stewed with tomatoes in a cream sauce and Aloo Keema, marinated ground goat seasoned with methi and mint with peas, tomatoes and potatoes. Each meal comes with rice, daal, two chapatis, raita, an Indian yogurt sauce, and achaar, a spicy mix of pickled fruits or vegetables.
The meals are cooked daily in an industrial kitchen at Kitchen Chicago on the Near West Side. At 6, a team of bikers pick the meals up and deliver to customers between 6:30-7:30 p.m., Plomin said.
Right now, the service is delivering to locations in University Village, Little Italy, the West Loop, Medical District, the Near West Side, parts of the Loop and Pilsen and has plans to expand to other neighborhoods as demand increases.
Customers can order on Turbotiffin's website and an mobile app will go live in February.
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