Food. We like it. Drinks? Oh yeah.

 

It all started with a little chaat house in downtown Asheville. 

From Bombay to Buncombe and Asheville to Atlanta, Chai Pani has extended our love of food, culinary experience, and storytelling to the southeast. The day we opened CHAI PANI ASHEVILLE in 2009 was a testament to will, love and friendship. We ran out of food by midday. As they say, the rest is history ...

In 2012, we opened MG ROAD Bar & Lounge, our stylishly awesome lounge right around the corner from Chai Pani. The team balances technique & tradition with a level of creativity & innovation that’s been written up from Food & Wine Magazine to The Times of India.

We then opened CHAI PANI DECATUR in Decatur, GA in 2013. It has been included in the 'Best Restaurants in Atlanta' list every year it's been open by Atlanta Magazine and Creative Loafing. Pani Puri nights on Fri and Sat are legendary.

Since then, we've added BUXTON HALL BARBECUE, which features wood-smoked, whole-hog barbecue by Chef Elliott Moss in South Slope, Asheville, NC. Low-country curiosities, southern classics, seasonal pies and pastries, local beer, craft cocktails, rotating punches and a daily slushy.

Botiwalla is the newest restaurant from Chai Pani and chef Meherwan Irani. Inspired by the tea and kabab houses (known as Irani cafes) of Meherwan's childhood, as well as the grills (sigris) that pop up on the streets of India at night, serving grilled meats and flatbreads to hungry late night commuters, workers and revelers.

 

 

 

Check out what's going on in our world:

 
 

Get the latest news and updates from our restaurants by following @chaipani, @mgroadlounge,
@chaipanidecatur, @botiwalla,
and @buxtonhall on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

PRESS

Want to know more about us? Who better to ask than the critics. Check out who's been eating where by going to our Press pages:

CREATIVE

At Chai Pani Restaurant Group, we're about more than just the food. We believe in the power of storytelling, of giving our customers more than just a taste of a Vada Pav or South Carolina Hash– we want to transport you to ground zero, show you that part of our childhoods and ancestries. We do it in small ways, the way we design our menus or layout our spaces, but we go even further. Sometimes stories need more than just one vehicle, and we use our design, social media, and video editing prowess to take these stories and bring them tofruition.


CUTTING CHAI

First shared with the public in March 2016, this one-of-a-kind documentary covers one of the South’s most notable Indian street food concepts as two-time James Beard-nominated chef Meherwan Irani takes his Chai Pani crew through 10 cities in 10 days by trains, planes, and auto-rickshaws, eating everything in sight.


Intimate, funny, touching, and irreverent - Cutting Chai is an explosion of color and sound, immersing viewers in the raw beauty of India’s rural countryside, the opulence of its riches, and the culinary heart and soul of the country and its people.

LIBATION MIGRATION

Libation Migration – MG Road's two month-long initiative to bring visiting bartenders from all over the country (and continent) to pair with local chefs officially ended in October. It was a truly wonderful experience to bring all these great and talented folks to Asheville, and we feel honored to have hosted them. We laughed, we cried, we drank a lot of bourbon.

Check out our videos from the Migration below, and learn how to make some great whiskey cocktails using Bulleit whiskey – our partner throughout the series.

Check out all the videos at our YouTube Channel:


THAT TIME WE HAD TO MAKE AN EPIC COMMERCIAL FOR BOTIWALLA ...

There's nothing like the taste of Botiwalla, to refresh you and give you the strength to face the day. Rejuvenate yourself with Botiwalla shakti! A special ad film from director Daniel Files. Starring Michael Files, Nargis Aniston, and Davyon St.Usaire Special thanks to cinematographer and general hero Eric Barnes for all his help in helping this grand vision come to life.

 
 

THEN THERE'S THAT TIME WHERE WE REVEALED CHAI PANI'S "LITTLE SECRET" ...

 
 

A GLIMPSE INTO THE MISSION THAT DRIVES CHAI PANI ...

 

THE LAST PUNK WOK

 
 

chai pani giving

 

"never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has"

- margaret meade

Being a part of a community is about giving back, about making a difference, about taking a stand. Chai Pani Giving is about thinking outside the box, about using food, and labor, and love to make a difference to those in need.

 

GIVE BACK WEDNESDAYS:

On the first Wednesday of every month, Chai Pani partners with a local charitable organization to raise awareness for their cause and we donate 10% of that day's sales to the organization.

To learn more or to submit an organization for consideration email: giving back@chaipani.net

 

RECENT BENEFICIARIES:

Montford Park Players

Just Us United

Welcome Table

Our Voice

Asheville Catholic School

Asheville Humane Society

Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

The Church of the Advocate

Feast Asheville

Paws on ASD

Black Mountain College

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue

Francis Delany New School for Children

 
 

OUR TEAM

MOLLY IRANI
Hospitality Director & Co-Founder

Molly grew up in the restaurant business. Her parents owned a popular & award winning restaurant in Myrtle Beach, SC and her mom is an accomplished pastry chef and restaurateur. From as far back as she can remember Molly has been in and around food, kitchens, cooking and restaurants and she brings a deep & intuitive understanding of service, hospitality & customer care to the culture of Chai Pani. Her many years traveling in India and being a part of an Indian family influence the Chai Pani aesthetic and environment.

 

 

MEHERWAN IRANI
Executive Chef, Chief Chaiwalla & Founder

In 2009, Irani quit his day job in sales to open his first restaurant– Chai Pani, a unique Indian street food joint in downtown Asheville. Whether it was a midlife crisis or a stroke of genius is debatable. In any case, the self-taught chef has now opened his fifth place, with more on the way. With two James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef in the Southeast under his belt, he's finally confident this might be working out. His restaurants have been written up in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, GQ, Food & Wine, Men's Health, USA Today, and Bon Appétit, among others. Not bad for a former salesman. He accredits his business success to the amazing people he works with each day, including his business partner and wife, Molly.

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CHARLOTTE FAHY
Operations Director

Charlotte joined the team  in 2010 when Chai Pani had yet to expand beyond it's original 40 seat restaurant in downtown Asheville, and pretty much right out of the gate it was apparent she should be running the place. Charlotte keeps everyone in line (even Meherwan!) and on task in a way only she could. In her day-to-day role she oversees the entire restaurant group staff and operations with her signature style of sweetness and accountability. Charlotte has traveled to India her whole life, and dreams of one day returning to do something with kids. She lives on the south side of Asheville, with her fiancé, 3 dogs, and 1 cat, all of whom give her great joy: Andrew, Bonnie, Harrison, Doug, and Millard.

MICHAEL FILES
Brand & Creative Director - Partner

Michael made a life for himself eagerly traveling all over the world before finally being convinced to stay in one place for more than a year– by helping open a little restaurant called Chai Pani. He initially joined up with Meherwan and Molly Irani in 2009 under the guise of finalizing a logo for Chai Pani, and has since gone on to do every job there is in the restaurant business, even helping to open every restaurant in the Chai Pani Restaurant Group. Having worked at a top contemporary art gallery in Mumbai, Michael has a long-standing deep love and connection to India that comes through in his design of the Chai Pani spaces. His work also focuses on communicating the mission of bringing Indian street food to the US audience, very often through various forms of art and video that seek to capture that unique and irreverent Indian spirit.

ISAAC CLAY
Regional General Manager - Partner

In 2009, Meherwan, a high-end real estate salesman with no experience in the restaurant industry, somehow convinced a young school teacher named Isaac to invest his life savings in the idea of opening an Indian street food restaurant in a small mountain town in the South. Crazy as that seemed back then, things seem to be working out OK for the both of them. Isaac has traveled to India his whole life and has a deep love for Indian food and its people. Prior to helping open Chai Pani, he spent years leading groups of gap-year students on long and immersive journeys to India. Isaac is admired by his staff for his gracious leadership and "island of calm" sensibility, even in the face of all the madness the restaurant world can throw at you.

KADY BROTHERTON
Financial Manager

Kady formally joined the Chai Pani team less than two years ago, but has been a part of the family for quite some time. Since coming on board, Kady has been hugely instrumental in helping the group to expand and keep an unfathomable amount of balls successfully juggled in the air at any given time. Kady originally comes from sunny Florida, but has since grown quite fond of her adopted mountain town of Asheville. She lives in a quaint but chic house in the country that she renovated with her boyfriend James (pictured below). Together they enjoy Blue Ridge mountain sunsets, gardening, their two dog-children, a couple of horse neigh-bors, and a lot of rosé.

DANIEL PEACH
Chef de Cuisine (Decatur)

Most people who meet him would say there's no one quite like Daniel Peach. He's blond-haired, blue-eyed, but basically an Indian at his core. Daniel moved to Asheville when he was 19 and was one of the first four people hired to open the kitchen at Chai Pani Asheville more than six years ago. Driven by a love for the food, people, and spirituality of India, Daniel has traveled on his own to India for long stints multiple times. In the process, he's taught himself to read and write Hindi, and cooked in scores of home kitchens. Daniel headed up the opening of the kitchen at Chai Pani Decatur, and continues to earn accolades for the food his diverse team of cooks produces. 

JAMES GROGAN
Chef de Cuisine (Asheville)

James first fell in love with cooking when he moved to Boone, NC to study accounting at ASU. He found himself with a job at a little family restaurant named Pepper's. He was so hooked that he changed careers and the trajectory of his life. From there he got a job as a dishwasher at the fine dining Crestwood restaurant, and within two years worked his way up to sous chef. In Asheville, fate and Chai Pani's good fortune landed him in 20 hours of interviews for the soon to open restaurant. He was finally hired as one of only 4 kitchen members. Now, as the Chef de Cuisine, he oversees a staff of 20. Since the Cutting Chai trip, he continued to venture to India on his own to keep his street food chops up. And, more importantly, he still loves waking up at 7am to cook daal.

ELLIOTT MOSS
Chef/Pit Master - Partner (Buxton Hall Barbecue)

Elliott Moss is a son of the low country of South Carolina. The rich characters, humble attitude, and low country cuisine he grew up with very much influence his approach to cooking today. Having paid his dues for years in the food industry, it was a move to Asheville to helm the kitchen at The Admiral that brought him regional and national attention as one of the most acclaimed chefs in the area, earning rave reviews from The New York Times, GQ Magazine, Food & Wine Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Conde Nast, and many more regional & national publications. He was nominated for the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Southeast” in 2013 during his stint at the Admiral, and continues to garner accolades now that he's opened his dream restaurant, Buxton Hall Barbecue, with the Chai Pani Restaurant Group. 

SOPHIE TAYLOR
Human Wrangler

Sophie grew up in a small town in Connecticut, and moved to Asheville to be a part of a community farm project, having always loved food, especially the kind that people leave outside all day. Little did she know that moving to the mountains would entail moving to the largest city she's ever been in! (and hottest!) But this resilient chocolate dog makes do, and has found moderate success in dog-modeling. Now a nine-to-five'r, she comes to work every day with a smile on her face, greeting each person she meets on her morning walks downtown. She and her long-time love, Gorilla, are the in-take assistants at the office and give everyone their daily dose of mooing, which usually ends in a rice and daal treat.

CONTACT US

Our offices are located at 22 Battery Park Avenue and are accessible through the Flat Iron Building, at 20 Battery Park Avenue, just up the stairs. If you would like to visit us, but cannot find us, feel welcome to inquire with a representative at our restaurant next door, Chai Pani.

 

20 Battery Park Ave
Suite 212 A
Downtown Asheville
North Carolina, 28801

(828) 782-3141
 

Need to get in touch with someone? We're happy to help.
Just contact us at the addresses below:

GENERAL INQUIRIES
Not sure who to talk to?
info@chaipani.net

PRESS & MEDIA
Any questions regarding press coverage?
mediainquiries@chaipani.net

Looking for employment opportunities? Visit our JOBS PAGE, where you can find applications to our restaurants.