Shangri-La Kitchen brings new life to the former space of Foood for Here & There.
Formerly the home of well-known sandwich and pizza shop Foood for Here & There, Shangri-La Kitchen is the creation of chef Bharat Banjara, a Nepalese native who has lived on Nantucket since 2002. Trained as a chef in Nepal, Banjara first came to the island to work summers, but quickly found himself here year-round, first rolling sushi at Sushi by Yoshi and then later at the sushi kiosk at the new mid-island Stop & Shop. Banjara’s sushi rolls made the kiosk an island favorite. Now the chef has rolled his skills to his own location on Orange Street.
“It is a bit of a mixed cuisine, a mix of Asian and American,” says Banjara. His menu boasts his specialty of sushi, with a variety of nigiri and sashimi rolls. The menu also ventures into the cuisine of his homeland, offering Indian staples like a delicious chicken tikka masala, vindaloo and lamb curry, with sides of mimosas and dumplings, which are known as “mo-mos” in Nepal. “The island doesn’t have a lot of options for curries and the spicier foods, and people have really liked what we offer,” he said, adding that he’s brought some highly skilled cooks to make the best dishes possible.
For those who came to love the pizza previously offered by Fooods, not to worry: Banjara has fired the pizza ovens back up, offering a variety of styles and toppings. Other “American” menu items include burgers, French fries and a variety of subs and sides. Amidst the wide range of flavors and culinary influences, Banjara insists that his focus is on quality. He only uses fresh fish, never frozen fish, and makes everything from scratch, from his pizza dough and sauce to his naan bread.
Open since early April, the new proprietor at 149 Orange Street said he is still in the process of earning the business back from the Foood faithful after those doors were closed and they went through a month of renovations. In the meantime, his focus on Asian cuisines has brought in a new repertoire of customers excited for new avenues of culinary experience and expression on Nantucket.
“The name Shangri-La is very popular in Asia,” Banjara says. “When I asked around, friends and family thought it would be a good name for the business.” Indeed, in James Hilton’s 1933 novel “Lost Horizon” Shangri-La is described as a mystical and exotic paradise. Through the years, the word has become synonymous with someplace too good to be true. Thankfully on Nantucket, Shangri-La appears to have come to life.