It may not be a yellow brick road, but just steps from Chicago’s famed Oz Park sits Kaathis, an Indian-inspired fast-casual restaurant where the essence of Indian food and culture can be found abundantly within its recipes.
With its memorable blend of robust flavors, Kaathis is bringing the taste found in Indian Street food to the Chicago restaurant scene, a treat for anyone without access to the region in this current moment in time. And it’s that commitment to quality that is unmatched and undeniably makes Kaathis the best Indian restaurant in Chicago to visit for fast or delicious food.
But what is it that makes Kaathis so good? Outside of the obvious push to get into the fast-casual, cafeteria-style service, this Indian restaurant in Chicago has been steadfast in maintaining inclusiveness for individuals of all cultures. Per the company website, all of their meats (Lamb, Beef, and Chicken) are Zabiha Halal and are certified by the Halal Food Standard Alliance of America (HFSAA). The Lincoln Park staple is also extremely allergy conscious — offering gluten-free rice bowls and their food is free of soy, nuts, seafood, and corn. They also provide vegan and vegetarian Indian food options, as well, and have now expanded into providing diet-friendly (think Keto, Weight Watchers, Atkins, etc) weekly meal options. The staff at Kaathis have also opted to avoid frying food and bake each recipe instead, such as their unique mouthwatering masala wedges.
Every time you visit Kaathis you can expect an experience filled with delicious meat and vegetables, perfectly seasoned in founders Aditya Burman and Dr. Sandhya Nagubadi’s blend of spices. But make no mistake, despite their personal touch, nothing about Kaathis is not authentic. These are recipes derived from the vibes of Indian street culture and in some cases, directly from the table of Nagubadi’s home kitchen or Burman’s own mother—a beautiful homage to their roots and the food that inspires those like them to chase their passion to share it with the world. The historic flavors in each entré at this Indian restaurant in Chicago are often blended with more modern touches. Take, for instance, the mango buffalo chicken samosa, a baked fusion of sweet and heat!
Sharing is something Burman and Nagubadi take very seriously. Despite their own limitations due to the COVD-19 pandemic and the subsequent financial effect it had on the restaurant industry, Kaathis made a conscious effort to be a vocal presence in the community. Burman states that the restaurant donated 2000+ meals to Chicagoland nursing homes and hospitals through their partnership with the city. They are now partnering with OpenMeals.org to provide meals to those experiencing difficult times due to the pandemic.
It’s that dedication to serving those in Chicago hit hard by the COVID-19 virus that makes Indian restaurant the perfect small business to highlight, especially in an era where sitting down and dining out opportunities are few and far between.
In total, you can expect to be in and out of Kaathis in 20 minutes if you choose to dine in. Should you opt for carryout, think Chipotle. But instead of big kitchen concoctions, the recipes have been crafted over decades of life in India and perfected for everyone to enjoy.
Whether you’re looking for the best Indian restaurants or something out of your normal rotation, we recommend traveling to Kaathis in Chicago. Once you are finished with lunch or dinner, visit Halligan Bar across the street to grab a few drinks. Kaathis’ traditionally beautiful Indian street food staples are a must if you live in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Heck, they’re a staple regardless of neighborhood, say you want them to cater a small socially distanced gathering you’re having, they do that too.
You can visit Kaathis Restaurant at 2273 N Lincoln Ave in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and is currently open Tuesday-Friday for lunch from 10:30AM-3PM and 5PM-9P (10:30PM on Friday) for dinner, Saturday from 11AM-10:30PM, and Sunday 5PM-9PM. They are currently fully functioning with limited dine-in seating, outdoor seating, full take out menu, and contact-free delivery.
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Featured Image Credit: Kaathis