Masala Radio Gets Ruggles Green-Sugar Land to Spice up its Menu with Some Bollywood Flavor


By Preanka Desai
SUGAR LAND: Utter the magic words, “Buy-One-Get-One-Free,” people may notice. But hear Masala Radio’s lead RJ, Sunil T, say that on-air about a popular restaurant, like Ruggles Green, Sugar Land, it results in a long line, snaking down to the sidewalk! That’s what happened on May 31, when co-founders, Robert Guillerman and Federico Marques, debuted the Bollywood-Indian menu exclusively at the SugarLand location.

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Ruggles Green with several locations in Greater Houston, opened in SugarLand’s trendy Town Center in 2012. Their website says, “Green isn’t just our name, it’s our mission.” Indeed! Ruggles Green has surpassed requirements to be certified by Green Restaurant Certification Association. Using local, organic produce, installing water-saving devices, state-of-the-art energy systems regulating 100% wind-powered electricity, and recycling: plastic, glass, paper, etc., are just some ways Ruggles Green helps the environment while being innovative. Introducing the Indian menu was one way of keeping with their image of innovation. Bollywood/Indian culture has grown in popularity in America, especially in SugarLand (often considered one-third IndoAmerican)!
The menu boasted mouth-watering, unique items, vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Scrumptious Mulligatawny Lentil Soup, Fried Kale and Spinach Chaat, Gobi Manchurian w/Angel Hair Pasta, Spicy Lamb Samosas, Tandoori Chicken Tacos, and the must-have, Pizza – Paneer Tikka and Chicken Tikka – accompanied by gourmet Kashmiri Chai-Tea. Chef consultant, Fariha Dhanani, explained how the Kashmiri Chai-Tea was prepared. “What makes it distinctive aren’t just special ingredients; it must be gently brewed over several hours. The brewing must start early, ending with a delicate pink hue,” she gushed, “and that’s key to its authentic taste!”
Paul, one of the first few customers at 6:30pm, was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by hostesses dressed in Indian outfits, offering samples of the Chicken Tikka Pizza and Paneer Tikka Pizza. Guests streamed in as the queue grew, while staff adorned in traditional Indian Bandhani (tie-die) scarves and diamond-esque bindis, kept the line moving steadily ensuring customers were served briskly.
Dr. Nadia Mahmood brought her daughters who were fascinated by the free henna tattoos and bindi giveaways. They chose Spicy Lamb Burgers, topping dinner off sharing Ruggles Green’s signature dessert, the chocolate crème brulee cheesecake.
Under the efficient direction of Masala Radio’s CFO, Sandhya Thakkar, event managers, Munira and Ruchir, created a beautiful ambience – sequined peacocks, mirrored decorative ribbons, and attention-grabbing Bollywood movie posters. The patio was transformed into a mini-dance floor. Professional dance trainer, Mahesh Mahbubani, and his dance instructors conducted a fun dance class to Bollywood songs. Mahbubani, who runs Naach Houston, a premier Bollywood-Fusion Dance School in SugarLand, soon had children and adults forming rows, copying easy-to-follow steps. DJ Zee spun upbeat Bollywood tracks like, “Tuney Maari Entriyaan…” While Naach dancers got ready for their next performance, Sunil T entertained by leading his own one-person, impromptu, hilarious Lungi dance class. Everyone was soon rolling in laughter. Masala RJs, Preanka, Rajoo, and Pankti encouraged the audience to join in.
Frequent visitor, Dr. Masand, beamed seeing miniature Indian dolls placed on counter tops and Indian movie posters lining the walls. “I’m a foodie, but also particular about my choices. It’s tough finding healthy choices especially in Indian restaurants. Ruggles Green always impresses me. Add Party King, Sunil T and his Crazy Masala Crew, now that’s an awesome experience” said Masand.
Based on feedback and a three-month trial, plans are to introduce popular items at other locations, including their most popular – City Center – and their newest one in The Woodlands opening this summer.
“I sampled everything vegetarian, but Gobi Macharian w/Angel Hair Pasta was my favorite,” said SugarLand Council Member, Harish Jajoo, summing it up best, “Dear friends, excellent food and a warm summer night. What else would you want?”