In his mid-20’s Basu Ratnam was working as a private-equity investor in New York. Growing up in Long Island to Indian parents he was used to big traditional meals that were healthy, flavorful and authentic. In the fast-paced industry he was in he’d often find himself on his lunch breaks with not enough time to cook, and not enough healthy options. He craved the light and bright flavors of his mother’s cooking.
“If I wanted to have something healthy, it meant a salad or plate of vegetables. If I wanted interesting flavors, it meant a heavy meal that would weigh me down for the rest of the day,” he explains.
Basu wanted to create a place that would be the best of both worlds for hungry New Yorkers. A place that would be both delicious and sustaining, full of energizing flavors, and, just as importantly, a place that was fast. He wanted to bring a bit of India to Manhattan.
One evening at a dinner party he found himself sitting beside the experienced restaurateur Phil Suarez. After excitedly pitching his idea for a fast-casual restaurant (think Chipotle, but fancier), Basu was elated to find that Phil wanted to sign on as lead investor. After gathering more investors and a handful of extremely helpful mentors, Basu was well on his way to making his mark in the New York health food scene.
In August of 2015, 18 months after the young entrepreneur quit his banker job, Inday opened in the Flatiron/NoMad area and has been busy since the day it opened. The name is short for “India, every day.” It’s a tropical, comforting escape in the middle of the city— one that Basu hopes will become a second home for its neighbors… every day.
Meals are made fresh in their open kitchen, and the menu is constantly experimenting with different cuisines and ways to represent new flavors. The food is 100% gluten free, meats are void of antibiotics, vegetables are sourced locally and the drinks are organic.
“We wanted Inday to be both accessible in terms of flavors and in terms of price. Fast casual enables us to serve high quality, chef-driven food at a price that people can enjoy,” says Basu. “We want to show people that healthy food can go beyond the form of a salad or plate of warm vegetables. We want to empower people to eat food that is in tune with what their body needs for the season… and to let them know that nourishment makes you feel great!”
For Basu, Inday has become a vision of India. Whether a customer is eating the Purple Basmati Rice or the Roast Chicken Breast, it’s a neighborhood-friendly place where he can share his special love of food.
“I grew up believing food was the most authentic expression of love,” he shares. “Food is the heart of the family.”
And New York has become a part of his.
Lindsay DeLong is the Managing Editor of The Fullest. She would like to Inday all day, and all night. (It’s that good.) Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media via @lindizzaster.