Above: The Curry Corner crew
Business partners and friends Harry Singh, Anoop Singh Cheema, and Sonu Rana’s Curry Corner landed in South San Francisco on June 5th. Lucky for everyone, Curry Corner’s the only Indian restaurant in the area, which proves to be a smart strategy – especially mid-pandemic.
Harry mentions, “I’m the one who’s new in this business,” whereas Sonu and Anoop have co-owned other restaurants together. Their Curry Bowl’s located in Clayton City with Curry & Kabab in Pacifica, just 10 minutes from the newest Curry Corner.
The trio runs the gamut of restaurant experience, starting with Harry as the newest owner, Sonu as a 20-year old connoisseur, and Anoop with 35 years of local service. Among them, Curry Corner’s off to a hopeful start.
Friends as Foundation
As a 27 year resident of San Francisco, Harry describes meeting Anoop and Sonu through their shared Sikh religion. Originally from Punjab in Northern India, Harry met his now business partners doing cultural activities as part of their local Punjabi community.
Harry may be new to the restaurant industry as a former taxi driver, but he’s no stranger to cooking. He cooks often for folks at the Gurdwara he attends, a Sikh place of worship. “Cooking is my passion. [For a] long time, [I] have a dream to open [a] new restaurant. We talked about it…have opportunity…lots of places are empty.”
Harry amounts their opening mid-pandemic as a case of “a little bit of bad luck and a little bit of good luck.” Having signed the lease only 10 days before the city-wide shut down, they had a good deal and decided to stick with it. Still, Harry reports “Everything slowed down…[but] we make our expenses very well so it’s good. Lots of restaurants in this area are going out of business but God bless us we’re doing good.”
Among their five-employee staff, Harry remains optimistic that things are running smoothly as they focus on serving the locals. He intends to “do whatever we can for the community. Sometimes we serve food for the needy…we help…whatever’s needed.” It’s obvious everyone’s a friend at Curry Corner, a safe place to eat warm and feel warm in return.
Indian Food Breakdown
Whatever your understanding of Indian food, Harry’s here to enlighten it. He educates, “90% of [the Indian] food you eat is Northern Indian food because Northern Indian food is spices, flavor, healthier. Any Indian restaurants in America…most are Northern.” He highlights Indian culture, one of “more than 27 languages and 29 states. Every state has its own culture…traditions…food.” Unlike America that has “everything in one country,” Harry describes India as 27 different countries. That makes Curry Corner a unique and specific expression of Indian food and culture.
Hands down, Harry declares the chicken tikka masala, Indian pizza, and tandoori chicken as their signature dishes. “[It’s the] only Indian pizza in this area…[with our] own sauce, own dough. [It’s] unique and different.” Harry knows the warmth of their food pairs perfectly with their location. Being near the ocean with its frequent foggy days, Harry states, “People like to eat warm food.” Simple as that.
When it comes to the dining experience, Harry professes that “food is passion. When you first look at the food, you must look at art. They must affect your eyes. [You’re] presenting art on the table.” After feasting with your eyes, the experience moves to the nose. “[The] second thing is you feel [a] very, very rich smell. When you start eating rich, creamy curries and spices, every ingredient is fresh. Everything’s made fresh every single day,” Harry continues.
Curry Corner’s food prompts a profound, all-encompassing sensory experience. It only makes sense for mouth-watering to follow.
The greatest battle for Curry Corner thus far’s been lack of advertising since “we cannot reach the people,” Harry names. In a non-COVID-19 world, Curry Corner would thrive on the San Francisco airport hotel guests and tourists. Harry shares that normally there are 70-80 airport hotels with guests who’d be looking for local food options.
Additionally, Curry Corner’s two minutes from big pharmaceutical companies, so the team was expecting to cater their big events. Still, remaining present, Harry offers a “warm welcome to everybody. We want everyone to try us, our best signature dishes.” The hope remains unwavering and that, in itself, is the medicine.
Curry Corner has the momentum of a new pursuit on its side, as well as that of its related, longer-standing restaurants. Support Curry Corner for your first Northern Indian food experience in South San Francisco! You’ll find yourself warmed by their care, even on Cali’s warmest days.