Namkeen, which is pronounced num-kin and means salty or savory in Hindi, was inspired by both Reddy’s family recipes and the street food enjoyed on the couple’s travels. Denver quickly swooned over the kathi rolls (curry wrapped in a flatbread), gobi (fried spiced cauliflower), and gulab jamun (milk doughnuts soaked in cardamom syrup). The stall even nabbed a mention in Food & Wine.
Despite all of this, the traffic to Zeppelin Station hasn’t been steady enough to warrant continuing. “We wish we could hit the pause button and fast forward two years. It’ll make so much sense once the neighborhood builds up,” says Strathmann. “We’re sad that the timeline didn’t work out for us.”
That doesn’t mean Reddy’s recipes and tempting flavors are lost to the closure. In fact, there’s a good chance some will make their way into specials at Spuntino. “It’s true that there’s not a lot of historical interplay between India and Italy,” Strathmann says. “But we forge our own way and the more we think about it, the more parallels we find.” An example is a turmeric-infused garganelli with ground lamb, crispy garlic, and preserved lemon. (The dish was so impressive that one Spuntino guest ordered one for dinner, finished it, and immediately ordered another to take home.)
And for Denver Restaurant Week-goers, a similar dish—this time made with cavatelli—will appear on Spuntino’s designated menu from February 22 through March 3.
But don’t wait, flock to Namkeen today and say goodbye over orders of chicken 65 (spicy fried chicken) and samosas. The stall is open regular hours from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Namkeen: Zeppelin Station, 3501 Wazee St.
Spuntino: 2639 W. 32nd Ave.