When it comes to Indian cuisine, most are familiar with the hearty and dairy-laced dishes of the northern part of the country. But at Biju's Little Curry Shop—which opened in RiNo this week—you'll find the lighter fare of chef Biju Thomas's hometown, Kovalam Beach in the state of Kerala.
"The food that we're doing is all things that I grew up with in my home," says Thomas, whose family moved to Colorado in 1980. "This is food we eat every day, and then I took it and made it a little bit different. But for the most part it's very true to south Indian food."
That translates to a straightforward menu where guests pick from chicken, beef, or veggies to build a bowl or wrap—made with an unleavened, tortilla-like bread called chapati—all in a quick-service format. Layering on options like rice, lentils, spicy salts, crunchy vegetables, and chutney, guests can also choose the degree of spiciness they take on.
Nothing is cooked with cream or butter, so unless a protein is chosen, the dishes are vegan. And with a small kitchen and no walk-in refrigerators, it means everything is made fresh each day. The shop will expand to a broader menu over time, including a features board for one or two daily specials, which could incorporate ingredients like okra or fresh fish.
Located in a re-purposed warehouse, Biju's is the first tenant and occupies an 1,100-square-foot space that used to be the loading dock. A patio is on the alley, and a large, garage-style window opens up along a seating counter. Punches of color accentuate the industrial space through impressive chalk art and patterned fabrics for the banquettes.
Thomas, who spent the last 10 years as a chef for cyclists, runners, and other athletes, also has plans for more locations—three to be exact. He has his eye on Boulder, south Denver, and somewhere around the Highlands area, possibly 44th Avenue and Tennyson Street in Berkeley.
Biju's Little Curry Shop is located at 1441 26th Street and serves lunch and dinner daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.