Since a fire last May, a long-time food staple of downtown St. John’s has been shut down. While India Gate has been quiet for the past few months, business is about to pick up.
Earlier in September, Davinder Sood, the owner, got permission to open up the restaurant’s kitchen to start a take-out business.
It will be open every day, taking orders between 4-8pm and the menu is what people are familiar with. “We can do 99 per cent of the menu. One per cent might not be ready yet, which we’re hoping we’ll do in a couple of weeks.”
Sood hasn’t been advertising this new take-out venture yet, so business has been slow starting up. In fact, India Gate’s website makes no mention of it. “It’s pretty quiet, we’re not putting too much out,” at the moment, he says. After being open for several weeks, there was only a short Facebook post announcing it on September 18.
“It’s hard, restaurants aren’t an easy business to be in,” which is why a take-out business is so welcomed. “We need some revenue coming in so we can keep going, but it’s been great, no complaints.”
Getting Ready to Re-open Its Doors
When the fire happened, Sood knew he’d be starting up a take-out as soon as possible. But it couldn’t be operated out of India Gate’s kitchen immediately, so in late June he leased a separate kitchen for two hours a day to be the base of his first take-out. It’s a sign of progress to finally have the restaurant’s kitchen up and running.
When walking onto the first floor of India Gate, only a few familiar features remain. Signs of construction are everywhere. The fire took place on the second floor, but water and smoke damage has meant the main dining area had to be gutted.
Insulation from the walls had to be removed. Electrical wires hang exposed from the ceiling. Structurally speaking, the building is fine, but cosmetic things are a problem. “These accidents happen, they’re out of our hands, nothing we can do. Just hope for the best.” Sood says. “We’ll just come back as quickly as possible to serve our community.” He hopes to have the restaurant up and running by December.
India Gate first opened back in 1991 and Sood can remember that it took about 10 years before the restaurant gained traction. It’s also been at the same location on Duckworth during its 25-year history.
Luckily, the regular patrons have been waiting for the Gate to open its doors again. “Newfoundland has been very loyal to us, they’re waiting. It’s a small community, they all know each other and they know my face and I know their faces. They do like our food. They miss it,” he chuckles.
“We rely on them. Newfoundland has been great and very supportive to us. They’re waiting. They want the food. They’re waiting for us.”