Indian fast food chain Honest opens only US location in Schaumburg

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (WLS) -- A well-known Indian grocery store in West Rogers Park has an even bigger footprint in the northwest suburbs, and there's a lot more than just spices for sale.

From dry goods to groceries, there's also an Indian restaurant chain's only U.S. location next door. He says you can eat pretty well, even if you're not interested in grocery shopping.
Since 1975, the Indian chain known as Honest has sprouted up all over the subcontinent with its vegetarian fast food. It finally opened its first location in the U.S. in a busy Schaumburg strip mall.

"The project we have is we serve fresh food. So whenever you come in, when you place an order then we'll cook your food," said Chirag Saraiya, the General Manager of Honest. "Honest known for bhaji pav and pulau."

The pulau, or rice, is a long grain basmati, cooked on a thick, concave steel griddle with butter and a number of spices. Bhaji pav is simply green peppers, red and white onions, mashed potatoes and peas, combined with butter and a ton of imported spices, none of which they'd disclose, but you can bet there's cumin, cardamom and chilies. Served with a pair of homemade rolls, or pav, baked right next door, in the back of the massive new Patel Brothers grocery store.

"This is the super Patel Brothers if you will. It's the latest and greatest in our footprint of stores across the country," said Swetal Patel, one of the store's owners.

Featuring an expanded produce section, a full aisle of spices and plenty of ready-to-make snacks and meals - like bhaji pav in a box - the real action is in back.

"The claim to fame of this store is the chapati machine in the back," Patel said. "It's similar to tortillas, just made with whole wheat. And different, other kinds of bread are being made fresh every day."

Those chapati alone are worth a trip. They come in plain and spicy, and no one in town makes them fresh like this. Patel says this entire area has become a one-stop shop for Indian ex-pats.

"Rogers Park was Ellis Island at one point for all the ethnic Indian and Pakistanis that moved into the country, the Chicagoland area, and as they prospered they moved further west or north and in terms of coming west, Schaumburg was the hot spot," he said.

With 50-plus locations across India, Honest has really good name recognition over there, but just because this is the first location in the U.S., they are not curtailing the spice levels. In fact, they're being very honest about the flavor profile, keeping true to the original.

And in this week's "Extra Course", Steve shows you some of the amazing spices you can find at Patel Brothers, which will come in handy for pretty much any recipe that calls for cardamom or cloves this holiday season.

EXTRA COURSE: Spices at Patel Brothers

835 W Higgins Rd, Schaumburg
(847) 594-4145

Patel Brothers
830 W Golf Rd, Schaumburg

(847) 519-3200
50 locations in the U.S.


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