Two-unit Chutney Joe’s aims to break the mold of buffet-style Indian restaurants.
“There’s no creativity,” said founder Vijay Puniani of the traditional model. “You’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all.”
The mini-chain, which was established in 2009, focuses on healthful aspects of Indian food, which sometimes uses cream and frying.
Nothing is fried at Chutney Joe’s (they bake their samosas) and proteins are cooked in natural juices when possible, rather than oils, cream or clarified butter.
Dishes are set upon a hot table and guests can sample before they order, like at Panda Express.
Diners can order a two-entrée meal, such as pork vindaloo and spinach paneer with rice or naan, or one entrée.
The menu also includes Americanized hybrid dishes, such as the BombayRritto, an “Indian burrito,” or a naan sandwich with various fillings.
The average check is about $10.
Chutney Joe’s is working with franchise developer Fransmart, which is registering the brand to franchise.
Chutney Joe’s second location in Chicago is a franchise model in a food court with a much smaller footprint. Food is cooked in the original restaurant’s kitchen and delivered daily to the smaller unit, a commissary model that Puniani said will expand as the chain grows.