Raju’s Egg & Veg, one of Hicksville’s most distinctive Indian restaurants, has closed. Opened in April 2017, it earned a two-star review from Newsday.
There was a time when Long Island Indian restaurants all shared the same pan-subcontinental menu of chicken tikka masala, saag paneer and garlic naan. That survey approach has long ago given way to a culinary landscape that better reflects the regional variety of Indian and Pakistani cuisines. But even so, Raju’s Egg & Veg stood out. Not only did it specialize in the vegetarian cooking of Gujarat, it zeroed in on the egg-based dishes of that Western Indian state, serving dozens of dishes starring eggs either hard-boiled, omelet, scrambled or sunny-side-up.
Raju’s Egg & Veg was the first (and, perhaps, the last) American outpost of Raju Omlet, founded by Rajubhai Rana in Vadodara in Gujarat. “Rajubhai,” as he is familiarly known, started with a handcart in 1982 and now presides over a dozen locations in India, Dubai, Kuwait and Australia.
It was Prashant Shah, a Gujarati-born restaurateur, who brought Raju’s to Hicksville. And, after a year, he said that the place simply was not doing enough business to justify keeping it open.
Shah, who owns Manhattan’s long-standing vegetarian Indian restaurant, Vatan, opened another Indian vegetarian, Honest Restaurant, in Hicksville in October. From the get-go, Honest outperformed Raju’s, and Shah is planning to open more Honests, in Manhattan and in Floral Park. (His first Honest opened in Jersey City in 2016.)
According to Shah, the space at 70 Broadway will soon have another tenant. We will keep you posted.