SOUTH BRUNSWICK — Success was only as far as his kitchen.
Chutney Manor owner Woody Patel said he once contemplated opening a Mexican restaurant, but now realizes his decision to bring his homeland cuisine to South Brunswick was a better idea.
"I remember when you had to travel to Edison for good Indian food," Patel said. "Having grown up in the area, I realized the need in the community for an Indian restaurant, so I decided to open one right here."
Chutney Manor, now in its fifth year, located on Route 1 South, provides facilities for fine Indian dining in restaurant, banquet and conference center atmospheres.
Patel, a North Brunswick resident for 18 years, now lives in Franklin Park.
In the last five years, Patel said he has seen a surge in popularity of Indian cuisine among people of all nationalities.
"At first, many Americans are afraid to try Indian food and many of my customers say they have never tried Indian food before," Patel said. "After we serve them, some like it so much, they like to come in here for dinner every week."
Patel said he wants to dispel the myth that all Indian food is spicy.
"We can adjust the taste of any of our dishes to a customer’s specific liking," Patel said. "Some people don’t like too much spice or too much oil, so we prepare our dishes how our customers order them."
Patrons can enjoy Mogal style Indian food in the restaurant decorated in rich burgundy, peach and gold and artwork from Rajastan.
"Mogal Indian cuisine, from northern India, is cooked in a tandoor oven, which is a clay urn," Patel said. "The food is rich in curries, onion paste, tomatoes and garlic."
The catering menu offers customers southern Indian cuisine, called gujarati.
"Gujarati is mainly vegetables, rice and fish," Patel said.
Chutney Manor specializes in catered weddings, and Patel can serve up to 800 guests in his facilities.
"We offer a unique service in that the wedding and the celebration afterward are all held here," Patel said.
Patel said he is happy to satisfy his community’s growing need for Indian banquet facilities for special events such as weddings, anniversaries and birthdays.
"The Indian community has grown in North Brunswick and South Brunswick since I was a young boy," Patel said. "The community is very happy that we provide banquet services to those who would otherwise have to travel to North Jersey or to Pennsylvania or to New York for Indian catering.
Patel also caters for corporate events, parties and conferences, he said.
Chutney Manor serves a daily lunch buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner, a la carte, is served from 5 to 10 p.m.
Patel said he anticipates expanding his business by opening another catering service in Hazlet.