This week’s Womply Merchant Spotlight is on Rangoli. Rangoli is an Indian restaurant located in South Riding, Virginia. The restaurant offers classic Indian cuisine as well as authentic Indian specialties. Rangoli’s menu includes a variety of dishes and breads to choose from, all of which are extremely delicious.
Small dishes at Rangoli include vegetable samosas, chicken kathi rolls, and masala dosas. There is also a great assortment of entrees such as tandoori shrimp, chicken saagwala, and lamb vindaloo that will leave you full and satisfied. In addition, Rangoli has a great selection of cocktails, wine, and beer to enjoy with your meal.
“Rangoli” means colorful murals and represents the cultural practice of using various patterns to ward off “ill-luck and evil spirits”. The restaurant recognizes the positive influence of the practice and channels it at the restaurant by ensuring great service and a friendly atmosphere for its customers. Rangoli prides itself on consistently greeting each patron with a warm personality and, of course, great food.
Rangoli has also been highlighted in The Washington Post, Washingtonian, Zagat, and Northern Virginia Magazine (twice). We hope you get to see how great this restaurant is for yourself if you already haven’t.
Womply got the opportunity to speak with Kumar Iyer, the owner of Rangoli. Below, Kumar talks about his experience that led up to opening his own restaurant as well as what it takes to succeed in the restaurant business. We hope you enjoy reading the interview!
Womply’s Interview with Rangoli
What is your name and title?
Kumar Iyer – Owner
When did you know that this was your dream and passion?
Having worked in Hotels and cruise ships (as an assistant maitre d’), I had the knowledge and experience. Then I worked for an Indian restaurant as a General Manager when I realized, owning one would be ideal.
What inspired you to start a restaurant?
Been in the Industry all my career life (23 years). With a professional Hotel and Restaurant Management degree – it was a matter of time, I guess. I even worked with T.G.I.Fridays as a Manager only to learn the ropes of a corporate chain restaurant.
What is the best thing you’ve ever eaten?
Having worked in high end restaurants, luxury cruises and the like, I would like to believe I’ve tried a lot of exotic dishes. However, what I like “best” is simple Indian food like dal-roti or a good dosa.
What characteristics of the dish make it your favorite?
Simplicity, gratifying, satiating; coming back to basics feeling.
What is your favorite night of the week here and why?
Here? In DC? In the restaurant, Saturday nights for obvious reasons. Personal life – Sundays because I get to spend time with my kids.
Care to share a tip on how to run a successful restaurant with us?
Product knowledge and people management. (Finances and marketing can come later, if you don’t know what you are doing you won’t get anywhere. Learning on the job is dangerous, very few get lucky).
What was one of the most enjoyable experiences you’ve had with a customer?
I’ve been fortunate to have many. A guest once took me out to dinner and (I don’t know why this stands out in memory) another one gifted me a swiss watch.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Running the restaurant is a very fulfilling experience. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by good people, good opportunities and good times.