Maharaja brings taste of India to Gresham
More Food News: Original Roadhouse to reopen after extensive remodeling
As is often said during the New Year's holiday, "out with the old, and in with the new."
It is in that spirit of discovery that The Maharaja Cuisine of India restaurant, the first new Indian food establishment in East Multnomah County in years, opened its doors on New Year's Eve, Saturday, Dec. 31.
Located in the former Lucky Buffet spot at 2830 N.E. Hogan Drive, in the plaza anchored by Bi-Mart, Maharaja's expansive, colorful and painstakingly decorated dining room and lounge present a feast for the eyes. Of course, it's primarily the food that co-owners Narinder Singh and Dial Sandhu expect will bring first-time customers back for more, either for the all-day lunch and dinner buffet ($9.99 lunch; $12 dinner) or the extensive, multi-page menu, which offers an array of vegetable-, chicken-, and lamb-based Indian delicacies ranging from $12-$15
Singh, 60, and Sandhu, 62, both Vancouver, Wash., residents, bring decades of restaurant experience to their new venture. Singh, who has worked at or operated Indian restaurants in California's Bay Area, Wilsonville and most recently at the India House in downtown Portland, found in East Multnomah County what he considered an obvious niche to fill.
"Every single day I would talk to somebody who said this area had no Indian restaurants," he said. "I kept running into people who say 'I appreciate you coming to Gresham.'"
Opening day proved a hit, with customers steadily streaming into the 200-person capacity dining room, which has a full-service bar area in the back. Sandhu believes Maharaja's proximity to area employment centers helped the place get off to a strong start.
"It's a busy area around here," he said. "We have (Mt. Hood) college back there. We're near car dealers, the Subaru (manufacturing) plant, and (Wood Village) Walmart."
Noting the relative dearth of Indian-based cuisine east of 82nd Avenue, Singh wouldn't mind if Maharaja sparks a greater demand for the uniquely spicy dishes — complemented by rice and fluffy naan bread — that his restaurant offers.
"Competition, I like that. That's good," he said. "I don't say, 'Don't open another (restaurant) like this. Open if you want to. This is America!'"
Maharaja is here
What: The Maharaja Cuisine of India, offering dine-in, buffet and take out, full-service bar
Where: 2830 N.E. Hogan Drive, Suite G, near Bi-Mart
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week
Roadhouse to reopen
For those wondering if and when the Original Roadhouse Grill at 2370 S.E. Burnside Ave., which closed for remodeling in September, will reopen, good news is forthcoming. If all goes well, the old-school-styled steakhouse, which first came to Gresham in 1993, will likely reopen by next week if not before.
"We're waiting for a lot of final inspections and training with staff," said Linda Bryant, vice president of operations for the Original Roadhouse Grill chain. "Most likely we'll be reopening on (Jan.) 15th or 16th."
Bryant, who encourages returning as well as new customers to keep an eye on the restaurant's website to find out the exact reopening date, believes most will find the approximately $1 million remodeling project worth the extended closure time.
"The outside may not look like much has been done, but there's a completely, 100 percent new kitchen and upgraded interior of the restaurant," she said. "Everything we've done is to improve the comfort level of our guests and our ability to create a superior product for our guests."
While the bar area has been expanded, with additional TVs to watch games, and booths and tables are new, Bryant assures the rough-hewn ambience the Roadhouse is known for remains intact.
"We have kept the warm character of the Roadhouse," she said. "You will still be able to throw peanuts on the floor."
To find out the exact reopening date and other information, visit the Roadhouse's website at www.originalroadhousegrill.com/gresham-or-roadhouse-grill.html.