Spice Root, new Indian restaurant, to open by the end of November

Lovers of Indian food eagerly awaiting the opening of Spice Root, a new restaurant on Spring Street, can now sleep a bit easier. The restaurant, part of the Chola Group, will be opening by the end of November, said David Cheeran, a partner in the group. A specific date has not yet been decided.

While the building in which Spice Root is located is not owned by the College, Cheeran said that the group has gotten “a lot of support” from Williams. “Everyone seems to be really excited,” he said. “People are always stopping by [the restaurant site] to ask about when it will be opening.”

Cheeran, who used to work at Sangeet in Pittsfield and now works at the Bombay Bar and Grill in Lee, noticed that a great many Williams students were coming to get their fill of Indian food at both restaurants. “They kept asking for someone to open an Indian restaurant in Williamstown,” he said. “We made our menu based on what they ask for.”

Spice Root will serve mainly traditional Indian cuisine. Cheeran noted that the menu will not focus on the regional food of one area of India. This variety of food includes an array of spicy and mild dishes and many vegetarian selections. Cheeran said that the prices are very affordable and an inexpensive lunch menu has been devised to cater specifically to students.

Cheeran is happy with how the restaurant construction is progressing. He noted that much of the furnishings are from India. He is confident that the restaurant will be a successful venture, saying “I think we’ll do really nicely.”

Spice Root is part of the Chola Group, which includes the Bombay Bar & Grill in Westport, Conn., and Lee; Jaipore Royal Indian Cuisine in Brewster, N.Y. and Chola Eclectic Cuisine in New York, N.Y. and Greenwich, Conn. The Westport, Conn. branch of Bombay Bar & Grill gained some attention from the media as Martha Stewart’s favorite Indian restaurant. Chefs from that restaurant were even featured on her television show to teach Stewart how make some of her favorite dishes.

Many of these restaurants have been highly ranked by such publications as the New York Times and Zagat’s Survey.

Even other local businesses are eager to see the new restaurant open. “It’s better not to have empty space [on Spring Street]. I think it’s great; it’s taken them a long time to fill the space. We don’t want to be a monopoly. It’s good to have change,” said Lily Vamvanij, a partner in the Thai Garden, situated right down the street from Spice Root. “We just have to continue our high quality and maybe introduce some new things.

“People who like Indian food who come to town to eat at the [new] restaurant, maybe they will see us and want to eat at our restaurant too.”

Peter Fohlin, the Williamstown town manager, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment on the impact of Spice Root’s opening on the town.

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