Rashmi Bhattachan and Sarala Kattel have been showcasing traditional takes on South Asian favorites for more than 12 years.
First came Gorkha Palace, which remaims one of the few great institutions that sources organic, scratch-made dishes from sustainable, local farms. Bhattachan and Kattel have since expanded into the fast-casual world with MomoDosa, which set up shop at Malcolm Yards in 2021 and added a Midtown Global Market outpost in 2022, wowing patrons with palatable and plentiful dosas, momos, and fresh-made chutneys.
Now, Bhattachan and Kattel are bringing their latest fast-casual concept, Thaliwala, to Chanhassen. “Chanhassen is a great location, because areas like Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Chaska, Carver, and Victoria are rapidly growing in terms of residents,” Bhattachan says. “Additionally, all these cities are close by, and there are no Indian/Nepali options or cuisine being done in Chanhassen.”
A soft opening for Thaliwala is scheduled for February 20, with a grand opening week beginning March 6 that’ll include 20% off total orders and giveaways.
Bhattachan and Kattel noticed a shift in customer expectations in recent years. “What if we offer the same kind of flavor and dishes, but at a more reasonable price?” Bhattachan wondered.
Originally, she says, they considered opening a second Gorkha Palace in the suburbs. “But with the effects of pandemic and now inflation, a light bulb went off in my head: Instead of paying 20 bucks for chicken with rice, people might want to see a variety of foods on a big plate, and wouldn't mind paying that much for a variety of foods.” She notes that the quality will be on par with anything one might get at Gorkha Palace or MomoDosa.
Thali means “plate” in the literal sense, but in Indian/Nepalese cuisine, the thali represents so much more. On their website, Bhattachan and Kattel explain, “A thali represents a collection of flavors, a variety of gastronomic delights, in small portion sizes, decorating a large plate. More than that, the thali represents balance.” On Thaliwala’s menu, each thali will be served with the choice of a main item (three meat thalis, and three vegetarian thalis) along with a salad, two vegetarian dishes, pieces of Naan, and a dessert. Kicking off their soft opening and grand opening will be gulab jamun—a sweet, aromatic syrup-soaked fried dough—and further down the line, Thaliwala will expand dessert offerings to include vegan coconut rice pudding and falooda.
Bhattachan and Kattel also promise monthly rotating vegetarian and non-vegetarian focused thalis. For the soft opening, there’s a Punjabi cabbage thali, and a pork thali, with pork sourced from Fischer Farms. Aside from the usual lineup of beverages, Thaliwala will offer a mango lassi and chaas—a chilled, spiced buttermilk.
Thaliwala 7850 Market Blvd., Chanhassen Opening February 20; grand opening March 6