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NewsBusinessHub61 offers authentic Pan-Indian cuisine in Milpitas

Hub61 offers authentic Pan-Indian cuisine in Milpitas

Last summer, Kiran Bondali’s neighbor, Ramakrishna Goli, approached him, asking if he’d be interested in opening up a restaurant. The pair lived next to one another in a neighborhood near Curtner Elementary School in Milpitas, and had known each other for several years.

Bondali didn’t really give much thought to their conversation. Not enough to take any kind of action. After all, he was working as a manager at a tech company, and that was the world he knew. 

But then something strange happened. A little over a week later, Bondali’s friend and coworker, Sampath Chennupati, asked him the same question: “Would you be interested in starting a restaurant together?”

Bondali was stunned. “Now that there were two different people asking me the same question in such a short period of time, I started to think about the possibility.”

But the synchronicity didn’t stop there. 

They had heard that the owners of Biryani ‘N’ Tadka on Serra Way were looking to close their restaurant and sell the property to someone else. 

So Bondali went to check out the restaurant, and when he walked in, he couldn’t believe what he saw. It was a guy he knew named Murali Vatturi, whom he hadn’t seen in decades.  

“I walked into the restaurant and saw that the guy who was running it was a childhood friend of mine back in India from 30 years ago,” said Bondali. “I looked at him, and was like: Dude, what are you doing here?” 

The amount of coincidences made Bondali stop to think that maybe this was fate.   

At that time, Bondali brought another co-worker, Srikanth Annangi, into the mix, and then all five of them — Bondali, Annangi, Vatturi, Goli, and Chennupati — formed an LLC together. Biryani ‘n’ Tadka closed up toward the end of last year, and the five partners immediately opened Hub61 that same month: November of 2022.  

 

 

A few years ago, the space had undergone some renovations, so the team didn’t need to make any major changes. However, since this was a whole new venture, they did change the management, chefs, and servers. They also brought in their own new menu, which they refer to as Pan-Indian cuisine. 

“Indian cuisine is very vast. Within the country itself, there are 30-40 different cuisines from various states,” said Bondali. “In Milpitas, most of the restaurants are regional or cuisine specific. We wanted this restaurant to be specific to what India is.” 

All of Hub61’s chefs are from India, so the flavors are steeped with authenticity. Before a new item is released on the menu, they usually go through about a month of testing, to make sure everything is just right. 

The owners also make enhancements to the restaurant as they go. For instance, they got a big screen TV. They also created a kind of “hall of fame wall,” where they put up different items based on specific themes throughout the year. They even recently started Scoops and Shakes, an ice cream bar full of unique Indian flavors, which is located inside the restaurant.    

Bondali’s wife, Deepti, spoke of how the owners always work to ensure that the customer is happy…

“We put ourselves in the customer’s shoes every time,” said Deepti. 

 

A dish from Hub61. Photo courtesy of Manzanares Photography.

 

When asked where the name Hub61 came from, Bondali said that there were three reasons for it – and one of them involves yet another coincidence! 

They knew they wanted the word “hub,” as it reflected the idea of bringing community together, which was important to them.

But the word “hub” by itself wasn’t appealing; they wanted to expand on it. 

On the periodic table, the atomic number for promethium is 61. The word promethium comes from Prometheus in Greek mythology. Prometheus stole fire from the Gods so that he could give it to humans. Since the element of fire is necessary when it comes to cooking, the owners all felt that 61 would have a strong symbolic meaning for the restaurant. 

“Another reason was that we were thinking of the five senses and making food the sixth sense. So we have six senses. And the ‘1’ comes from it all being here, in one place,” said Bondali. 

Then, during the owners’ brainstorming session about the name, they suddenly realized that the address of the restaurant itself was actually 61 Serra Way. 

That was when they knew that the hand of destiny was at play. They had found their name. 

In the future, the owners hope to continue providing exceptional experiences to their customers while also finding ways to build and support their community. 

“We don’t just want their experience here to be about the food only,” said Bondali. “We also want their time here to be an experience that everyone will cherish and remember.” 

 

A dish from Hub61. Photo courtesy of Manzanares Photography.

 

Along with owning Hub61, four out of five of the owners also purchased the established Indian restaurant Himalayan Kitchen in Mountain View. If one thing is working well at one restaurant, they learn from it and implement it at the other one. 

This weekend, Hub61 is hosting an event called Milpitas Mela, where small businesses will come to sell and showcase their products, such as Indian jewelry, traditional wear, and eco-friendly items. 

 

 

Hub61 is open from 11:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-12am from Monday to Friday. They open early on Saturdays and Sundays, as they have a breakfast buffet on the weekend that goes from 8am-11am. And they have a regular all-you-can-eat lunch buffet that happens every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

Go here to learn more about Hub61.

 

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Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro is the winner of a 2022 Golden Quill Award for her Education journalism. She works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works mostly with nonprofit organizations and educational entities to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also the author of “Fierce Woman: Wake up your Badass Self” and “Magic Within: Womb-Centered Wisdom to Realize the Power of Your Sacred Feminine Self.” Her YouTube channel features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief.

2 COMMENTS

  1. This place has been pretty good in our experience. Though often in the Milpitas area turnover seems inordinately high. Especially with the large Chinese restaurants. The restaurant business is not for the faint of heart of course.

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