Profile: Chapati House

By: Sarah Essa

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Chapati House is a local Hub City restaurant with a self-proclaimed “chill atmosphere doling out traditional Indian and Pakistani fare.” Shawn Gomes, regional manager of Chapati House, is pictured switching trays of fresh Indian food. “Chapati House New Brunswick was opened in February 2015. The groundwork [construction] happened in January of that year,” he said.

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“We have seen a lot of changes in New Brunswick. There are a lot of ups and downs in business,” Gomes said. He specifically cited inclement weather and parking issues as the difficulties of being faced on busy George Street in Downtown New Brunswick.

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“The main issue is in parking It’s getting more crowded. During the day, a lot of our customer are from Johnson and Johnson. During the evening, more Rutgers students come along.” Gomes cited George Street as a hot spot for business. Parking is an issue, but he wouldn’t trade it for the convenience of the restaurant’s site. “Location, location, location and word of mouth” definitely helps Chapati House.

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The original Chapati House, located in Manhattan, is still basking in its success. The well-received New York restaurant inspired a new location to open. has some pros and cons compared to the New Brunswick location. “New York is automatic street traffic. Here [in New Brunswick] it depends what part of the day it is. Maybe a couple of Rutgers students passing by, but New York has continuous running traffic. Students, doctors, everyone,” Gomes said.

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As for the space and rent, New Brunswick is more appealing. Unlike the Manhattan Chapati House, rent at the New Brunswick Chapati House costs significantly less. The Broadway location in Manhattan is a different story, according to Gomes. “The New York location is half the size of New Brunswick’s,” he says. The George Street location also boasts extra dining space upstairs. In Manhattan, the competition between fellow Indian and Desi restaurants is more prevalent than in New Brunswick. “You can’t expand much in New York, but in New Brunswick, there’s not as much competition. It’s a different style and set up,” referring to the customized, made-to-order Indian food.

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Gomes gave advice for anyone in the restaurant industry, and to those pursuing their dreams. “Start small and grow on that. Don’t back down or give up.”

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