Krish Alapati’s focus is south Indian cuisine.
Serving the region’s distinctive food is Shank Ponugoti's decadelong ambition.
The restauranteurs are continuing that mission this month with the opening of Aha Indian Grill in Spring Hill. But Aha isn’t a chain like their two Bawarchi restaurants. Alapati and Ponugoti created this concept — and it includes a tandoor.
What is Aha Indian Grill?
South Indian cuisine is entirely different from the northern foods served throughout America, Alapati said. The southern style includes idli, dosa, vada, biryanis and unique, spicy appetizers. The northern style emphasizes curry and naan bread.
The tandoor grill, a cylindrical clay oven used to cook meat, is what sets Aha apart from Bawarchi Biryani Point in Franklin and Bawarchi Biryanis in Mt. Juliet. Both locations are part of a large restaurant franchise with more than 60 locations.
“We were very successful with our franchise there,” Alapati said. “However, our customers wanted more. We were limited in our offerings and within the franchise's constraints.”
Aha Indian Grill, which also offers more space, showcases a different menu, including tikka masala, butter masala, biryanis, Indian tandoor sizzlers and samosas. Aha will also offer a range of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as Indian-inspired cocktails and desserts.
They also plan to offer fine wine at Aha.
Why Spring Hill?
Indian cuisine options weren't available in the area that stretches from Thompson’s Station to Columbia, Alapati said. This void made rapidly growing Spring Hill an ideal location. The business partners calculated patron loyalty in deciding to open a second Williamson County establishment.
“Several customers who visit us at our other restaurant locations want us to be closer. Being local, we want to serve this great community,” Alapati said.
Aha Indian Grill is open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Reservations are recommended.
3015 Belshire Village, Suite 101, Spring Hill; AhaIndiangrill.com; (615) 302-8180
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: South Indian cuisine focus of new Spring Hill restaurant