This isn’t the easiest dining environment to keep a restaurant open, let alone expand. But Spice Waala — Capitol Hill’s popular Indian street food spot — is planning to open a second location in Ballard in January. When it opens, the new outpost at 2008 NW 56th Street (formerly occupied by the now-closed Boar’s Nest) will serve a menu of kathi rolls, chaat, and other snacks for takeout and delivery.
After years building a following with farmers market stalls, Spice Waala co-owners Aakanksha Sinha and Uttam Mukherjee opened their first fixed location in 2019 and had been on the hunt for another one pre-pandemic. Those plans were put on hold, though, after Washington’s stay-at-home order this spring, as the couple worked to keep the Capitol Hill restaurant afloat. Over the past eight months, Spice Waala introduced new takeout items that represent different regions of India and developed its community service effort, Bhojan, that distributes 100 meals per week to families in need around the neighborhood.
Once the space in Ballard opened up, though, the opportunity seemed too good to pass up. The space isn’t big, but with takeout service the main focus at the moment, the lack of seating doesn’t seem to be an issue, as the restaurant looks to replicate the short menu from the Capitol Hill location. Spice Waala also plans to continue the Bhojan program in Ballard and is currently in talks with a few different organizations to determine the right charitable approach. “We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve that will come to life over time,” says Mukherjee.
- Spice Waala [Official]
- All coverage of Spice Waala [ESEA]
- Why I Can’t Afford to Close My Restaurant During the Pandemic [ESEA]