Pioneering Austin Indian restaurant reopening after year-long closure
More than a year after announcing its closure, Rainey Street’s impeccably draped Indian restaurant G’raj Mahal has risen. Led by Ben Runkle — founder of high-end butcher shop Salt & Time — under the umbrella of the Present Tense Hospitality brand, a new G’raj Mahal will open in East Austin in late 2022.
The restaurant’s chef and founder Sidney Roberts is involved as a partner in the new location, after its 14 years on Rainey. “Bringing G’Raj Mahal back to Austin means a lot to me,” Roberts said in a release. “I am so grateful for Present Tense Hospitality in helping to make this happen and am looking forward to a great partnership.”
There will be some tweaks to the restaurant, but it’s no stranger to change. G’raj Mahal was established as a food trailer in 2009, making it one of the original members of Austin’s growing food truck scene. It moved to its brick-and-mortar in 2014, becoming known for organic ingredients and options friendly to many diets, where it stayed until it closed last summer.
In its new incarnation on Manor Road, G'raj Mahal joins such staples as Hoover's and Dai Due, and will add a Texas twist to its Indian roots. It doesn’t have the same ring as Tex-Mex, but this Tex-In joint will be serving brisket tikka masala, smoked tandoor-style chicken, and “Bombay burritos.”
“G’Raj Mahal is a beloved Austin institution that’s been missed this past year,” said Present Tense creative director Natalie Davis. “We’re proud to partner with Sidney on growing the brand and bringing the fun, energetic, and laid back experience of G’Raj to East Austin.”
The revamped G'Raj Mahal doesn’t have a website yet, but it does have a mailing list, which you can subscribe to here.