Irrespective of two difficult several years, several of Chennai’s small, but iconic eating places and distributors are standing potent. We follow a popular meals path to meet the individuals who fought back again
Located at Arundel Street, Rayar’s Mess is packed with consumers when we take a look at. Proven in 1930 and to begin with started out as a café by Srinivasan Rao, it is now managed by his grandson P Kumar.
“We have been listed here for three generations and our current consumers are also the 3rd era. We grew up with them they have develop into our spouse and children,” claims P Mohan, Kumar’s young brother. He adds, “This is a little area and tiny business: we like to continue to keep it that way.”
Their compact menu features every thing South Indian — from pongal and idli to Mysore bondas and jangiri. Rayar’s pongal and adai were a strike amid the stalwarts of Tamil cinema these types of as the late MG Ramachandran, Cho Ramaswamy and the late Vivek. Stars like Suriya and Simbu also employed to patronise it.
Around the very last 90 several years, Rayar’s Mess has resisted variations consumers still fork out on their individual immediately after taking in. There is no bill, which has been the circumstance at any time considering that it was began.
“We belief them and they believe in us. Occasionally they genuinely forget about to shell out and we would not request them. They would occur again and settle the bill. Some would even occur in after six months and fork out us,” claims Mohan, incorporating that they have adopted the custom even all through hard occasions.
“The lockdowns did make us panic for our long term but we thought matters would adjust and they did. We have now recovered 90% of our revenue,” he adds.
This quaint window stall manufactured a identify for alone, many thanks to the fritters. Its present-day operator Chandrasekaran K suggests they gained what they shed for the duration of the lockdowns when the limits ended up lifted.
Right after his brother Sivaramakrishnan K passed away in 2020, he and his family members took in excess of the small business. Sivaramakrishnan, as most people today would remember, was the confront of the shop. “Ninety for each cent of our prospects realized him and even now, people request about him,” suggests Chandrasekaran.
Jogging the business from the similar blue barred window for the very last 20 yrs, the place serves as a nostalgic trip for Chennaiites, thanks to its molaga bajji which is conveniently the admirer favorite, served alongside with chutney and sambar.“We make close to 75 to 100 bajjis a working day and it varies every single working day,” he provides. Even however the menu consists of pongal, idli, poori and kal dosa, it is the crunchy bajjis that are popular.
“We have constantly stayed the exact and never ever transformed. This is what provides our shoppers again,” he observes.
Kalathi Rosemilk Store
Commenced in 1927 by Kalathi Mudhaliyar, this pocket-sized retail shop’s legacy has been the rose milk. This corner shop is almost a century outdated and has been run by the same loved ones for 3 generations.
It is now managed by K Mani. “In the 70s a glass of rose milk was sold for 25 paise,” he says with a smile. Nevertheless Mani says faithful clients returned to the store and they opened whenever achievable involving lockdowns, gross sales have been hit over the last two many years.
Nevertheless, even through the peak of the pandemic, Mani suggests shutting down the store was an alternative he never deemed. “My father died in this shop and that is why I keep on to run this place. There is no motivation, only sentiment,” he states.
The good thing is, the demand for rose milk is nevertheless potent. “Though we did not sign up with any apps, delivery boys occur below,” he smiles, “Just to drink our rose milk.”
Sri Annapoorani Sweets
Lockdowns had been unexpected and difficult. Even then, R Muthukumar would fall in to cleanse the store and do pooja every day. “This spot is our bread and butter and if I still left it unattended, it would have been pretty hard for us.”
Began by his father MS Ramachandran in 1958, Annapoorani Sweets is acknowledged for its jangiris, aside from the sweet samosas loaded with khoa and wheat halwa.
The store survived the pandemic, thanks to its loyal shopper base, claims its present proprietor Muthukumar. “But I misplaced my floating buyers with educational institutions, colleges and workplaces closed. Pre lockdown, we experienced a continual circulation of customers who would occur in each day and get 10 quarter kilogram bins of sweets, in particular during the wedding ceremony period. Having said that, lockdowns had been hard,” he states.
But things are bettering. “The income were good as a result of the festive season. But there was a dip again due to the rains. If an additional lockdown comes in, it would be a wrestle for us.”