Business & Finance

Curry House Brightens Carmel/Mahopac Culinary Landscape

38a5a704465fc0ff3281_curry.jpg
Pavi Chirakkal and Pearl Gill the Curry House's colorful dining room Credits: Bob Dumas
82479fb736fa54d39e8e_curry_house.jpg
Credits: Bob Dumas
38a5a704465fc0ff3281_curry.jpg

CARMEL, N.Y. - When Pearl Gill drove by the empty storefront at 4 Church St. in Carmel, she knew an opportunity when she saw one. She immediately called Pavithran Chirakkal (aka Pavi), her friend and coworker from Jaipore, the Indian restaurant in Brewster, and told him now was the time they should open a restaurant together.

A short time later, in September 2016, Curry House—an Indian/Caribbean restaurant— was born.

Chirakkal moved to U.S. in 2008 and had landed a job working in the kitchen at Jaipore. He was later promoted to manager and held that position for five years.

Sign Up for E-News

“I went to culinary arts school in India in 1993 and then moved to Mumbai where I worked in several restaurants,” he said.

But Chirakkal wasn’t always interested in a career in the hospitality industry. In fact, he has a bachelor’s degree in economics.

“But my father loved to cook and I used to spend a lot of time in the kitchen watching him,” he said.

Owning his own restaurant soon became Chirakkal’s dream.

Gill also took a somewhat circuitous path to a career in the culinary arts.

“I didn’t really enjoy cooking in the beginning,” she said with a grin. “But I got married fairly young and it was then that I started paying attention to my mom. I began taking over for her, cooking for the family.”

Gill, a native of Trinidad, came to the U.S. nearly 30 years ago.

“When I got here, I wasn’t involved in cooking [professionally], but I was interested in doing all kinds of [dishes],” she said. “I started to learn how to cook Italian food and other dishes in my own home. I had a lot of cookbooks and would watch the Cooking Channel.”

A friend bought a bakery/café in Staten Island about 10 years ago and she asked Gill to manage it. After she left the café, she headed north. Her first experience cooking on a large scale came when she took a job in the kitchen at Arms Acres, the rehab facility in Carmel.

“There I was cooking for about 200 people at a time,” she said. “Although the meals there were simple, I didn’t take the easy way out. I wanted the meals to be really well-received as if I was going to eat it myself. Everyone loved the food.”

Next, Gill moved onto PARC, the county’s advocacy agency for people with developmental disabilities, where she continue to hone her culinary skills.

“I started to cook for the guys there and everything I cooked they enjoyed,” she said. 

During that time, she was also working as a waitress at Jaipore, where she struck up a friendship with Chirakkal. Both expressed a desire to open their own place. 

Though Curry House has only been open for only six months, it has already developed a dedicated following.

“When we started it wasn’t supposed to be a sit-down restaurant,” Pearl said. “We planned on something that was more of a take-out place with maybe a few table and chairs. We made about 20 dishes and had them on the steam tables, kind of like a buffet.”

But their customers had other ideas.

“We got a lot of emails from customers that said they wanted a sit-down restaurant,” Chirakkal said. “Within a month we changed the whole thing.”

Curry House received its liquor license last month and now patrons can enjoy beer and wine with their meals.

Curry House offers an eclectic menu of classic Indian cuisine and Caribbean favorites, as well as few dishes that fuse the two styles together.

“One of our most popular Caribbean dishes the curry goat,” Gill said. “You can’t get that much around here, but here you can come and get it anytime.”

Another classic Caribbean dish that has proved popular with diners is the daalpuri roti (homemade bread stuffed with yellow split peas, garlic and cumin), as well as the callaloo, which is leafy vegetables cooked in Trinidadian style (spinach, squash, carrots, coconut milk and spices).

“And we have all kinds of chutneys from both India and the Caribbean,” Gill noted.

Popular Indian dishes include the chicken tikka masala, coconut curry chicken, tandoori chicken, and salmon tikka. Another big seller, Chirakkal said, is the saag paneer, a classic Indian dish cooked with spinach, paneer (homemade cheese) and fenugreek.

And while the menu is bound to please the palates of those seeking something different than the traditional fare found in most area restaurants, it also won’t break your budget. Many of the entrees range from $12 to $16.

“Here, we want to [feed] and satisfy,” Chirakkal said. “At the Curry House, you will eat and be satisfied and afterward you won’t be broke when you pay the bill.”
Gill notes that they offer their buffet daily for just $10.

“It has more than 10 items and always has different things,” she said. “If you go to McDonald’s and you buy a burger and some fries and a drink it’s about 10 bucks. Here you get all you can eat and it’s healthier food and you pay the same amount.”

The Curry House is located at 4 Church St. in Carmel. Hours are: Tuesday through Sunday, 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch/buffet; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, dinner is 4:30 to 9 p.m. On Fridays and Saturday, they stay open till 10 p.m. They’re closed Mondays.

Call 845-306-7456 for info or reservations.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Watergate Analogies Apply to Obama, Not Trump

My liberal counterpart in this publication is about my age. Maybe I am the baby of the group, but we all have had the same seminal experiences of our youth: Vietnam, the civil rights movement and Watergate. These are what shaped our political perspectives.

Looking back, maybe, just maybe those who thought Nixon was really deserving of his fate cannot be faulted for thinking so. It was once ...

Reagan on Trump

The party of “Honest Abe” has now become the party of Dishonest Don, and what follows are some disturbing displays of a Republican Party that has become devoid of conscience:

• More than 4,600 American citizens dead in Puerto Rico—a postscript to the government’s abysmal response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria; 
• The underhanded ...

The Rich Get Richer, and We’re Paying For It

According to a Harvard University study published late last year, most Americans believe that the richest 20 percent of Americans own just half of the nation’s wealth. Wrong! The top 20 percent own 93 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top 1 percent own 40 percent of that wealth. Additionally, the top 10 percent of earners in 2017 took home more than half the nation’s ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

Honoring Our Veterans’ Freedom of Speech

Memorial Day is over, but writing about America’s veterans doesn’t have an expiration date.

My dad, George, was as proud a veteran as you’d meet. He served in the Army in World War II and loved our country no less than the next veteran. I am proud of him, as is my brother, Robert, who served in the Air Force.

Growing up, the one vacation we took each year was spent with ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Mouthing Off

When I went for oral surgery last spring, the doctor told me he could only do one half of my mouth that day or I wouldn’t be able to eat for two weeks. Considering it was almost bathing suit season, I didn’t think that was necessarily a bad thing. But he convinced me otherwise, and told me if I was really gung ho about getting it all done, I could come back in a month or so to have ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b4cc78dd32adbbf57c97_2018_hiv_testing_day_eng

Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

PCDOH Free HIV Testing Day

Health & Wellness