Passage to India long has ranked as a favorite Harrisburg eatery, but, to some, the location has proven to be a barrier between them and their chicken tikka masala or vegetable curry.
Located in Shipoke, the popular Indian restaurant is just a tad too far for most state workers and downtown denizens to venture on a lunch break.
Soon, that will change.
Come early May, new owner Chenna Chakka plans to open an outpost in the heart of the 9-to-5 action—the food court in Strawberry Square—calling it Capital City Curry in a Hurry.
“A lot of our regular customers would like to come to Passage to India for lunch, but they don’t drive or don’t have the time,” Chakka said. “Numbers-wise, it makes perfect sense for us to be there.”
About two months ago, Chakka assumed the helm of the 26-year-old restaurant, taking over from the original owner, Leena Shenoy. Shenoy and her late husband, Vishnu, founded Passage to India in 1993.
Chakka said he met Shenoy about four years ago after he moved to the Harrisburg area. She even helped him establish his first restaurant, Jewels of India, which opened last year in Carlisle, he said.
Then tragedy struck.
In November, Shenoy suffered a serious heart attack and underwent triple bypass surgery. A few months later, Passage to India filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and Chakka took over the day-to-day operation as the new owner. Slowly, Shenoy is spending more time again in the restaurant, but only in her favorite place–the kitchen, Chakka said.
Chakka said that Brad Jones, CEO of Harristown Enterprises, which owns Strawberry Square, had wanted Shenoy to open up in the food court, and then asked the same of him. Specifically, Curry in a Hurry will operate in the former Arby’s location, which has been vacant for about a year.
“This new addition to the food court and Strawberry Square is very exciting and dramatically increases our already fantastic ethnic diversity of Mexican, Italian, Pan-Asian, American, and now Indian cuisine,” Jones said.
If all goes well, Chakka expects to open around May 1, offering several Indian specialties that will be prepared either at Passage to India or at Jewels of India, depending on the day.
Around the same time, Chakka said that he also expects to reopen the Passage to India food stand inside the Broad Street Market, which has been closed for several months.
“These are great opportunities for us to expand,” he said.
Passage to India is located at 520 Race St., Harrisburg, with plans to open in Strawberry Square. For more information, visit www.passagetoindiaharrisburgpa.com.