Zeppelin Station, the near year-old food hall at the edge of RiNo, loses its South Indian food vendor next week with the departure of Namkeen. The business’ last day will be Thursday, January 31. Until then, it will operate during regular hours, selling curry kathi rolls, rice bowls, chicken and gobi 65, samosas, and its namesake namkeen snacks. Owners Cindhura Reddy and Elliot Strathmann say they are closing Namkeen to refocus on their first restaurant, Spuntino, in the Highlands.
“It has become clear recently that we’ve been facing a choice between devoting our time and energy in maintaining our small, south Indian concept in Zeppelin Station while that neighborhood builds slowly over the coming years, and stepping back and refocusing on the space and community that has already provided so much to us over the years,” Strathmann wrote Friday in a newsletter to the restaurant’s followers.
“While we’re sorry for the short notice, do know that this won’t be the last chance to enjoy the wonderful flavors we’ve celebrated with Namkeen,” he added.
Namkeen was chef Reddy’s first restaurant devoted to her family’s recipes from Hyderabad, India. In the short time the stall was open, it gained local and national attention for dishes like the hot fried chicken 65. But at the Italian-focused Spuntino, Strathmann says there’s still room for experimentation and “crossover.” At a special wine dinner last September, the couple served five courses inspired by Namkeen. They also have started creating menu specials like a South Indian spiced lamb and beef sugo over turmeric garganelli. Of the possibilities for crossovers moving forward, Strathmann says, “we’re certainly going to have some fun with it.”
Back at Zeppelin Station, Namkeen is the second stall to depart in recent months. Aloha Poke left in December and was replaced by OK Poke. Zeppelin’s operators didn’t comment on the departure of Aloha but did say, “OK Poke is an independent concept with higher-quality ingredients, and the operators and the concept are more aligned with Zeppelin Station and Zeppelin Development’s values.”
Aloha, a Chicago-based chain, last year received a lot of criticism for trying to stop Hawaiian businesses from using the words “aloha” and “poke” together. More to come on what’s coming and going at Zeppelin Station.
- Eat Around the World at Zeppelin Station, Denver’s International Food Hall [EDEN]
- All Previous Coverage of Spuntino [EDEN]
- Aloha Poke Co. Apologizes to Native Hawaiians [ECHI]