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Chutney's Indian restaurant set to open on Monday; burrito madness in downtown Lawrence


Ever since back in July when we reported a new ethnic restaurant that billed itself as the Indian version of a Chipotle was going to open in downtown, I’ve been getting questions about what the heck that means.

Well, soon you’ll be able to find out. Chutney’s at 918 Massachusetts St. is set to open on Monday.

Owner Rasesh Patel said the Chipotle description is still a good one, but that doesn’t mean the restaurant’s menu is going to be full of wraps. Instead, it is just his way of saying that it will be a casual-style, quick-service type of restaurant.

“It is going to be completely different than the typical Indian restaurant you are used to seeing,” Patel said. “It is Indian food, but we are trying to make it a little faster so that it can be food on the go too.”

Patel has been working with a chef out of Chicago who has patented a process for efficiently preparing a variety of Indian dishes.

Now, I don’t know enough about Indian food to even make a good joke here. (I know, you’re asking yourself when the Town Talk standard became that the jokes had to be good.) But in terms of menu items, Patel shared a few details with me. He said the restaurant regularly will offer chicken, beef, lamb and pork dishes, plus bean, rice and other dishes that will qualify as vegetarian, or in some cases, vegan.

Expect to see classic Indian dishes (or so I’m told) such as: Chicken Tikka Masala; Pork Vindaloo (I don’t know how it tastes, but it is fun to say); something called Spinach Paneer, which I believe is a spinach and cottage cheese-like dish; along with some fried-rice based dishes, various types of Indian tea, mango juice and a couple of Indian desserts.

The restaurant also will have a small bar area, but Patel said Kansas liquor laws have made it difficult for him to get the large assortment of Indian beers that he originally planned to stock.

• While we’re updating restaurant news, there was quite a scene last night at a local restaurant that surely says something about Lawrence. It either says we really like the idea of a new restaurant or we’re really cheap, or perhaps both.

Freebirds World Burrito was holding a special preview party at its new restaurant at 739 Massachusetts St. The event featured a free entrée and a drink. When I drove by at 6 p.m., there was a line out the door that stretched the width of two or three downtown stores. And this was in the rain. About an hour later, the line was even longer.

It will be interesting to see what burrito madness takes place today. The restaurant is officially opening tomorrow, and it is offering a promotion that the first 25 people in line will receive free burritos for a year. So, with a forecast of 18 degrees tonight, we’ll soon see just how cheap Lawrence is.

Last night’s event, however, did have a charitable cause connected to it. The Freebirds folks were suggesting a $5 donation to their nonprofit partners in the event, The Lawrence Humane Society and the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence. So, I’m sure Lawrence last night was lining up in the rain to be charitable, not cheap.


Janella Williams 5 years, 2 months ago

If you want fast Indian food, Curry in a Hurry is good!

ksjayhawk74 5 years, 2 months ago

I looking forward to both of the places. There are so many great eating options Downtown now that the competition is going to make it hard to stay in business.

Catalano 5 years, 2 months ago

Three things, Chad:

1) But does your WIFE like Indian food?

2) You had the night off from CC last night and you weren't in line for free food AND DRINK? You're slipping, Chad.

3) Is your wife planning for you to spend the night there tonight to be one of the 25 so you can have free burritos for a year? (Just think of all the money that would save that she could spend!) She needs to get on this asap! (Hope she's reading.) ;-)

lunacydetector 5 years, 2 months ago

burrito joints don't make it downtown except for chipotle'....i recall 3-4 burrito restaurants in the early 2000's...wasn't qdoba at 10th & mass? can't recall the names of the other 2 or 3.

matthew2600 5 years, 2 months ago

OK yeah there was New York Burrito and Chipotle for a while, Q'Doba and Chipotle for a while and now this but I think Freebirds stands a better chance, they have a lot of different options even though most people here seem to have written it off. Different size and style of tortilla, options other than just burritos, etc. Their branding is stupid but I stopped holding that against places once Fuzzy's opened.

dncinnanc 5 years, 2 months ago

I miss Qdoba, mainly because they offered Queso. As a hungover college student, having a big burrito smothered in (plastic) cheese generally hit the spot before taking a long nap on the couch.

myop 5 years, 2 months ago

Love, love, love Freebirds. I will be eating there weekly! I'll try Chutney's too.

Clovis Sangrail 5 years, 2 months ago

I like the yellow goop and some of the red goops, but I don;t much care for the green goop.

Janet Cinelli 5 years, 2 months ago

Beef and pork at an Indian restaurant? There's your joke. McDonald in India don't even serve beef or pork!!! Still looking forward to the paneer.

irvan moore 5 years, 2 months ago

Chad, can you post up a picture of the people standing in line (are there people standing in line?) waiting for the opening of the burrito place? thanks

Stephanie Hull 5 years, 2 months ago

I noticed the old Bambino's place on Mass St is for lease. What happened to the Chicago-style blues restaurant that was going in there? Did it ever even open?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

We miss Low riders which prepared excellent Burrito's and Guacamole.

I'm still trying to get Burger Stand to bring on the Guacamole that was served at Esquinas ..... yumo.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years, 2 months ago

Chad, we've got to get you to try a bit more international cuisine! Each of the Indian dishes you named are things you should have eaten a couple of times!

jafs 5 years, 2 months ago

Well, we tried both of these new restaurants, and were generally pleased.

They're both good deals, and offer good choices (Freebirds has a lot of those!) for vegetarians.

We'll definitely be going back to both of them.

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