The Pitt News

Two international restaurants come to Oakland

By Chidi Nwakpuda

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Where two vacant eateries once stood on Atwood Street, two more will fill their spaces.

At 328 Atwood St., where India Garden once operated, Sichuan Gourmet, a new Chinese restaurant, will open, restaurant owner Wei Yu said. Eight doors down, at 346 Atwood St., Bombay Curry House opened on May 29 at the former location of Mi Ranchito, a bar that was popular among students. Sichuan Gourmet does not yet have a set opening date because it is still waiting on a health inspection from the city, Yu said.

Angela Kimmel, a Pitt student who lives at 328 Atwood St. until the end of July, said she didn’t know Sichuan would open in her building until she saw a banner hanging outside two weeks ago.

“I did not have much warning before that,” she said.

Despite opening with little notice, the owners of the two restaurants say they are bringing something fresh to Atwood Street.

Yu, who was born in China and also owns the original Sichuan Gourmet in Squirrel Hill, said the second location of the restaurant will boast a chef who was born in the province of Sichuan, China, and has almost 30 years of cooking experience.

“My new chef started to learn how to cook Sichuan food in 1988,” he said.

While his original location in Squirrel Hill has both Sichuan and American menus, Yu said his second location in Oakland will only have a Sichuan menu, to set itself apart from other Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood.

“The other restaurants are totally different,” he said. “They are tailored to American [tastes]. If you taste our food and compare to their food, you will find that the taste is not the same.”

The main difference, he said, is that his food will be much spicier.

“People from different parts of China have different tastes,” he said. “In east China, people eat sweeter foods. The sauce is more spicy in Sichuan.”

Like Yu, Rafiq Shaikh, owner of the Bombay Curry House, said he plans to set his restaurant apart from others on the block by serving only fresh food, like chicken Madras and chicken Mughlai, two popular Indian dishes.

“We have totally different recipes,” Shaikh, 41, said. “We make fresh homemade food. We have a lot of variety in our menu.”

Neither establishment, however, will serve alcohol. Shaikh said Bombay Curry won’t serve alcohol because of his faith.

“I am Muslim,” he said. “I am strictly not allowed to serve alcoholic beverages.”

Pitt student Volodymyr Pyzhov, who lives on Atwood Street across from Sichuan Gourmet’s future location, can’t wait to eat at the new restaurant.

“I try to get Chinese food every month, because I am deeply interested in far eastern culture and its cuisine,” Pyzhov, a sophomore political science major, said.

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper
Two international restaurants come to Oakland