Indian grocery adds spice to Brunswick food scene
BRUNSWICK — If meals from Shere Punjab Indian restaurant weren't enough to satisfy diners' cravings for Indian food, the restaurant's owners are now providing the means to create home-cooked meals with a one-stop grocery store.
Owner Prakash Gyawali and his wife Rakshya opened Shere Punjab Urban Spice on the restaurant's second floor at 46 Maine St. in early March.
The store sells many ingredients and foods common in Indian cuisine: chutneys, chappati flour, bhujia, and hundreds of other items that run the gamut from spices, beans and rice, to snack foods like Gulab jamun and Limca soda.
The store also sells a small selection of Indian clothing, music and incense.
Rakshya Gyawali said she came up with the idea for the store after customers repeatedly expressed desires to explore more traditional Indian cuisine.
"People are really curious about the Indian food," she said. "I just think why don't I open upstairs and see how people react."
In addition to selling products distributed by wholesalers, Prakash Gyawali said the store also sells in-house korma sauce; tikka masala sauce; masala tea; and mint, onion and tamarind chutneys.
He said he has no problem sharing some of the secrets of the Shere Punjab kitchen, and plans to hand out the restaurant's recipe for chicken curry. He also doesn't think the grocery store will steal business from his restaurant.
"If they cook it at home, I think that's even better, he said. "I don't think that will affect my restaurant."
The Gyawalis have owned Shere Punjab since they bought the restaurant from its previous owners in 2004.
With Americans becoming more health conscious, Prakash Gyawali said, Indian food is becoming more popular.
"Lately, the Western cultures (have been) more attracted to Indian food and Indian culture," Prakash Gyawali said. "Back 10 years, this wouldn't be possible. Now people are more conscious about Indian food, healthy food."
He said food played a big part in his family when he was growing up.
"We grew up basically in front of the kitchen," Gyawali said. "... My grandmother is 99. She's still very healthy."