Ved Prakash's latest restaurant takes over the former Bayleaf site.

The closing of Bayleaf India Bistro left a serious hole in the lunch buffet scene in Polaris.

That's going to change on Friday, when Cumin takes over the vacant restaurant at 1025 Polaris Parkway.

Owner Ved Prakash, who also goes by Vince, has completely revamped the interior, installing stone, tile and white Italian marble while building a 4-foot-tall border around the lounge area.

"I want to give the impression it's not the same restaurant, it's a new restaurant," he said.

The transition also includes a new menu, which is about 25 percent bigger, with a large assortment of seafood, including spicy mango shrimp, lobster lababdar and Malai halibut. There are plenty of standard plates, as well, such as various styles of tandoori, biryani and vegetarian dishes. Most entrees from the a la carte dinner menu are in the $8 to $12 range.

Still, the all-important lunch buffet will be served daily. On the weekends, it will include the chaat station, as Bayleaf had.

Anyone who's witnessed it firsthand knows that Indian buffets are extremely popular on the Far North Side. Prakash laid the foundation at Cuisine of India, 8475 Sancus Blvd. That was followed by Bayleaf and then Maanas, another large space off Polaris Parkway, west of South Old State Road.

"People noticed my success," said Prakash, who opened Cuisine of India in 2004. But the space is smaller by comparison, seating 68. Cumin, meanwhile, will seat 140.

Where Cumin will offer a wide assortment of fare from the northern part of the country, Cuisine of India's menu will be transformed to include only dishes from the south, such as dosa, medu wada, sambar, idli and chicken chettinad. Prakash said the conversion will allow the restaurant to differentiate itself from the others.

The extra space will allow Prakash to pursue his burgeoning catering business, which now serves 700 lunches per week.

"Once I open up (Cumin) then I could add 500 easy," he said.

Cumin will be open for lunch and dinner daily. For more information, call 614-854-0775.


In other Indian news from Polaris, Masala BBQ has opened at 8939 South Old State Road. Aqil Khan's new restaurant specializes in Indian and Pakistani cuisines. The menu is by no means extensive. Instead, it is primarily focused on tandoori, often described as Indian barbecue, and biryani dishes. Most entre prices are in the $7 to $10 range.

Masala BBQ is open six days a week, closed Sunday. For more information, call 614-433-0108.


The father-and-son team of Yiagos and Stratis Kostoglou are putting the finishing touches on Greek to Me, a breakfast-and-lunch locale at 4697 Reed Road on the Northwest Side.

The restaurant, set to open the first week of January, will take over the space that was home to a slew of pizza shops, most recently Pizzano's.

The Kostoglous say the menu will be a mix of American and Greek fare. They will work from family recipes for avgolemeno soup, pastitsio, lamb, baklava, galaktoboureko and other classic Greek dishes.

They have applied for a beer and wine license.