Today's Special: Kohinoor Indian Restaurant will be family affair

Today's Special: Kohinoor Indian Restaurant will be family affair

CHAMPAIGN — The family behind the Sitara Indian Restaurant in Urbana is opening a new Indian restaurant in downtown Champaign.

Two immigrants from Nepal — Ujjwal Ghimire and his mother, Meena — have leased the former Escobar's restaurant building at 6 E. Columbia Ave., and are converting it into Kohinoor Indian Restaurant and Lounge.

Ujjwal's father and Meena's husband, Hari Ghimire, is the chef and co-owner at Sitara. The mother and son moved here from Nepal six years ago, and Ujjwal says he is bringing many of his dad's recipes to the new eatery.

Ujjwal said he hopes to have Kohinoor open for business before December.

Ujjwal, 25, said owning his own restaurant has been his dream since he was 12 years old.

He said he admired his father's work as a chef and wanted to follow in his footsteps. Kohinoor Indian Restaurant and Lounge will serve many of his father's genuine Indian recipes.

Kohinoor is the Indian word for "precious diamond."

"This is going to be cuisine that downtown Champaign does not yet have," Ujjwal said. "This is going to be something special."

The restaurant wil start with up to 10 employees. Meena said she is excited to have the opportunity to work with her son.

"If a customer is happy, we'll be happy," Ujjwal said.

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Bob from Champaign wrote on September 25, 2016 at 7:09 am

I'm exicted for this.  Didn't know about the Urbana location.  Quick Google search brought up the menu:

Looks mighty tasty!  Have to give it a try sometime soon.

JRR wrote on September 25, 2016 at 10:09 am

Sitara occupies the space that was formerly the Embassy tavern/bar. It's the best Indian restaurant in Champaign-Urbana, and I look forward to Kohinoor serving good Indian food in Champaign.

Reykjavik wrote on September 25, 2016 at 6:09 pm

The service at Sitara is consistently awful.  Food is OK, but we gave up a year ago after repeated long delays after being seated.  Strange.  

prp wrote on September 26, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Our family has eaten there several times with absolutlely no issues in service.  Glad to hear the Urbana location is staying open.  Our kids love it.

Roanrider wrote on September 26, 2016 at 1:09 pm

We have eaten at Sitara several times. The food is always delicious and the service has been top-notch. I can't wait for this new Champaign location so I can have my favorite mutter paneer more often!!

Canuck63 wrote on September 28, 2016 at 6:09 am

Awesome news ! Sitara is the first choice when my wife and I go out to eat. Delicious food and great service. times we have to wait for a table but never for too long. So happy that they are expanding.