Chutney Rolls combines community and good eats in University Circle


Harsha Chandupatla / Observer

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, CWRU a capella group Dhamakapella performed at Chutney Rolls’ open mic night. Open mics will occur every last Wednesday of the month.

Allison Duchin, Staff Reporter

“Delivering Joy.” This is the mission of the Indian restaurant “Chutney Rolls,” located on Murray Hill Road. Inspired by the CEO of Tony Hsieh, Hrishue Mahalaha, the owner of Chutney Rolls. has opened his restaurant in order to bring more than a food to a dining experience.

In an effort to create an all-encompassing experience, Mahalaha has set out to create an environment in his restaurant that engages all of the customer’s senses. In creating an open, calm, yet equally inviting setting, Mahalaha utilizes his customer’s comfort level and further enhances their experience by employing staff members that do more than take your order. A CWRU alumnus, Mahalaha specifically states that he looks for people “who are naturally inclined to engaging with customers.”

Mahalaha’s restaurant plays off of one of the most popular trends in the fast food service industry. This industry has seen a large growth in the past few years over the following trends: having more health conscious, yet inexpensive food options, as well as being coupled with having a nicer sit-down meal experience. One of the great leaders in this food service trend is Chipotle Mexican Grill; Mahalaha considers his restaurant the “Indian Chipotle.” Mahalaha says that’s what makes his food so successful with consumers: It turns Indian food, which may be overwhelming to some, to simple, engaging and approachable via their signature wrap-style.

In an effort to assimilate into the community, Mahalaha has launched efforts to collaborate with a variety of groups on CWRU’s campus; their first major event was held this past December with the Case Cycling Club. This event had student members of the club act as a delivery service for Chutney Rolls for a week, and in return, 10 percent of the week’s profits went to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Chutney Rolls also cooperated with a variety of other CWRU organizations including Greek Life, the School of Dental Medicine, ethnic social clubs, engineering societies and even Undergraduate Studies in attempts to ease the stress students have throughout the semester.

As of recently, most student organizations Mahalaha worked with have reached out to him initially; however, in the upcoming weeks he will be looking for a student group to sell Chutney Rolls products in the Thwing Center. Mahalaha plans to donate 10 percent of the proceeds earned to whichever student group he has partnered with for that week. As of now, Mahalaha is working to secure a partnership with the Indian dance team Kismat as well as the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi.

Mahalaha doesn’t just reach out to his own alma mater. He is currently working to double his restaurant as a rotational gallery to feature some of Cleveland Institute of Art’s students as well as professors. In an effort to also feature students from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Mahalaha will schedule open-mic nights at the restaurant. The first open-mic night occurred this past Wednesday, and he currently has a second planned to occur next month on March 26, when a CWRU music group is also rumored to be performing. If interested, Mahalaha plans to hold an open-mic night monthly, every last Wednesday of the month.

When opening Chutney Rolls, Mahalaha knew he wanted reconnect with the local university setting. He said he missed the feeling of being a part of this campus; as the years after his gradation passed, he saw the campus becoming more of a set of buildings instead of memories. His work with the local community allows him to repossess the sentiments with the CWRU campus that he was nervous of losing. The act of reestablishing himself among the community was a main goal when Mahalaha picked his location for Chutney Rolls, but he found out the connection to students and campus organizations happened organically.