Chai Pani, an Indian street food restaurant wins America’s Most Outstanding Restaurant Award

Indian cuisine offers a plethora of choices for all types of foodies. From sweet to savory, Indian cuisine has it all. With just one bite of food, you can experience an explosion of irresistible flavors. In the West, people rarely eat Indian street food like vada pav or bhel puri. However, Chani Pani is ready to smash the idea.

Chai Pani, a fine dining restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina, wins America’s Most Outstanding Restaurant at the James Beard Foundation Awards. It is also listed as one of the New York Times 50 Favorite Restaurants. Chai Pani’s homepage reads: “And because there is nothing more comforting and delicious in any culture than a home-cooked meal, Chai Pani also brings you thalis – traditional family meals showcasing India’s incredible culinary diversity.”


Chai Pani refers to tea and snacks. Classic Indian street foods are top sellers. These are Bhelpuri, Sev Dahi Puri, Corn Bhel, Green Mango Chaat, Potato Chaat, Aloo Tikki, Kale Pakoras and uttapam. The list does not end there. The chef’s signature dish is julienned okra fries. It is made with a wedge of lime topped with salt and seasoning. For people who prefer to eat meat, Chai Pani offers Chicken Pakoras with Kashmiri spices, Keema Pav, Lamb Burgers, Chicken Tikka Roll and Curry Bowls.

Chef Meherwan Irani has given his heart and soul to familiarize people with Indian culinary culture that goes far beyond the usual chicken tikka masala. Making sure he represents both of his identities, Indian and Southern, Chef Meherwan has surely taken the Indian cooking game to new heights. Chef Meherwan’s journey from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra to Ashville, North Carolina was shown through his art – food.

Chai Pani is affordable and won’t burn a hole in your pocket. The cost of the dishes ranges from 6 USD to 14 USD. Food is served in classic canteen style – stainless steel thalis. The chaats are accompanied by chutneys, salads, lime and chilli.


Chai Pani’s first outlet was located in Asheville in 2009. Within a decade, he successfully opened eight restaurants spread across Atlanta and Charlotte. Another sister company, Spicewalla, has also been popular in the country and is used by chief restraints in the United States.

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