A Restaurant for the Community!


By Malay Vyas

SUGAR LAND: Dusk falls on a quiet weekday evening in the suburbs, shopping strips as are shorn of traffic, weekend rush is a distant memory except at the corner of Williams Trace and Highway 6 in Sugarland. Café India’s Bollywood Chat is buzzing with families walking in in anticipation of a tasteful meal. Its community Tuesday – a unique concept that is taking the City or rather the Country by storm.

Here’s a restaurant that offers free food, literally, you can order food and you only pay whatever you feel like paying or just leave without paying on every Tuesday. This idea is the brainchild of the new owner of this establishment Dinesh Purohit. “I once had guests at my house when I was new to the United States and I couldn’t afford to take them to the restaurant”, says Dineshbhai, “that’s when I got this idea and I am blessed that I can implement it here in this great city”. He bought the Café India establishment from the previous owner and has been in Houston for less than a year and yet he is already a popular name in the community.


Across the restaurant, Aisha & Saeed with three children are eagerly waiting on their food. Aisha says “Almighty will give Dineshbhai blessings for feeding hungry families for free”, “he indeed has a big hear”, says Saeed. They have been in Houston for over nine years and have never seen a restaurant offering food for free. Aman is here with his Grandmother, mother & his brother, according to him, Bollywood Chaat serves the best masala dosa and paubhaji in town. “The community Tuesday idea is very unique and creative”, he adds. They moved to Houston from New York and have not seen anything like this before. “We are very inspired to see the owner himself in the kitchen preparing dishes, it’s a good way of paying-it-forward” adds his grandmother.

On this Tuesday, Jitendra and Priyanka are enjoying some delicious chaat in the company of their one year old son Ayushman. The family is new to Houston and its their second time at Bollywood Chaat on a Tuesday. “This is a very good initiative”, says Priyanka while munching on the Pau Bhaji while Jitendra likes the presentation and of course, everything on the menu. Jitendra adds “this is a noble cause – if you feed someone for free, they will remember you for life and will return the cause. The world is round, what you give is what you get”.

It is interesting to note that everyone from the Purohit family is working in the kitchen to serve over a thousand dishes that are consumed on a typical Community Tuesday. “He came for a $6 Bombay Sandwich, and gave me $111 in cash”, says Dineshbhai with a smile about Mr. Tushar Patel, a regular patron. The restaurant serves full menu on Community Tuesdays as well, from idlis to paubhaji to bhel and panipuri. Dineshbhai is a telecom executive by profession and got this idea of community Tuesday from the ‘Seva café’ in Ahmedabad. He has two sons – one in college and the other one ready to become the masterchef at his father’s establishment. Dineshbhai has just one request “write me a good review, online”. He plans to continue to serve the community by opening the doors of his restaurant to everyone for free on Tuesdays. “I have the resources, so why not use them for a good cause”, is his motto. As I leave the restaurant, way past 9 pm, there are more families coming in. The atmosphere is lively with a DJ and strobe lights and smiles on faces of the staff here says it all “a lot of good things in life, are free”.  

Café India & Bollywood Chaat are at the corner of Williams Trace & Highway 6. A visit to either restaurant will make you keep coming back for more.