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Drumroll, please! The eighth and final restaurant stall concept has been announced for Zeppelin Station: Namkeen (pronounced num-kin), an Indian street food spot from the husband-and-wife owners of Spuntino in LoHi.
Elliot Strathmann and Cindhura Reddy turned to executive chef Reddy’s roots—her family hails from the city of Hyderabad in the state of Andhra Pradesh—and their extensive travels throughout southeast Asia when developing Namkeen. On their last night in Bombay, during a backpacking trip six years ago, the couple went out to a nice dinner and realized it was only the second time they’d eaten in a restaurant that had doors in about five months. “It’s all street stalls and stands,” Strathmann says.
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Namkeen, which is an umbrella term for the snacks one finds in bins at stalls, markets, and chai stands across India, is a nod to that experience. The eatery joins the previously announced tenants: Injoi, Mister Oso, Vinh Xuong Bakery, Aloha Poké Co., Dandy Lion Coffee, Fior Gelato, Au Feu, and two bars.
The menu, Reddy says, is basically a best-of list culled from her favorite dishes growing up and what the pair tasted during their travels. Kati rolls—essentially Indian burritos, wrapped in roti (an Indian flatbread that will be made in-house)—are a highlight. They’ll be filled with your choice of three curries: vegan chana masala, lamb keema, or methi chicken, all of which can also be ordered over jeera (cumin seed-flecked) rice instead.
Another unusual addition is the spicy chicken 65, which Reddy calls “India’s equivalent of a buffalo chicken wing.” (Vegetarians can order a cauliflower 65 instead.) Samosas, mango lassis, and house-made ice creams (crafted at Spuntino) in flavors such as cardamom, coconut, and chai will round out the offerings. A batched cocktail and other alcoholic offerings are still in the works, as is the possibility of a chai affogato.
As with Spuntino, Reddy and Strathmann are aiming to source as much product locally as possible. That includes working with Denver’s Rebel Farm to try to grow some of the ingredients Reddy needs, including methi leaves.
“The dream was always to eventually open an Indian concept,” Reddy says. “We never expected to launch [it so] early, but the opportunity presented itself and it just seemed too right to say no.”
“Any small business should reflect the people involved,” Strathmann adds. “This food is us.”