Fans follow Indian favorite to new Sawmill storefront
Lakhvir Singh Hayer couldn't believe the news: After 10 years of building up Amul India restaurant, his landlord was forcing him to close.
"I was so sad," he said. "I had a good business. I saw everything as dark."
He couldn't hide the distress from his customers. A regular suggested he look into a vacant site a few miles south on Sawmill Road.
A little more than two weeks ago -- five months after the original restaurant closed -- a relocated Amul India opened at 5871 Sawmill Road in the Cranston Center.
Hayer said the move, in many ways, has been a blessing.
"I was scared before, but today I'm happy because all my regular customers are coming back to help me," he said. "I feel much better here."
The storefront has better visibility from the road, and is within a stone's throw of such busy retailers as Sam's Club, Home Depot and Discount Tire.
The 4,200-square-foot space, which has seating for 90 in the main dining room and another 70 in a banquet area, has been outfitted with all new furniture.
Hayer got his restaurant start in the unlikeliest of places: McDonald's.
While working for the chain for six months, he learned the value of a clean restaurant and consistent menu, he said.
He then worked for a decade in a family-owned business in the Dayton area before founding Amul 10 years ago at 7676 Sawmill Road in the Olde Sawmill shopping center, much of which has been demolished to make way for a new retail concept.
Hayer is the chef at Amul, which specializes in North Indian cuisine.
There were a few recent changes, including adding goat as an option on the lunch buffet and as a substitute for the 11 lamb dishes on the menu.
He says he mixes his own spice compounds, many of which are made from seeds that are toasted and ground in-house.
Amul is open for lunch and dinner daily. For more information, call 614-734-1600.
In bakery news:
• Crumbz Cakery has opened at 2604 Hilliard-Rome Road in Hilliard.
Owner Karyn Wilson said Crumbz specializes in cupcakes -- minis are 50 cents each and regulars, $2.25 -- as well as specialty cakes, brownies, pastries, muffins and other baked goods.
A bonus: In early-morning hours, the place serves doughnuts from the Lil' Donut Factory on nearby Scioto-Darby Road.
• Sweet Dreemz in Powell will institute morning hours starting May 10. It, too, specializes in cupcakes. Flavors include pineapple upside-down, white almond and rocky road. Also among the retail offerings: coffee cake, cheesecake, brownies, cinnamon rolls and cookies.
The dessert shop is owned by Patrick and Amy Stallworth. It quietly opened about six months ago at 138 E. Olentangy St.
There's a new lunch pizza buffet in Lewis Center. Block O Pizza has opened at 8627 Columbus Pike (otherwise known as U.S. Route 23 in southern Delaware County) in the NorthPointe Plaza.
The place, owned by Mike DeBrul and Julia Kise, serves up thin-crust pies using house-made, hand-tossed dough and a semi-sweet sauce.
The pizza buffet, featuring two or three popular options, is available weekdays.
Block O offers several specialty pizzas, including a Youngstown-style Brier Hill selection, with tomato sauce, banana peppers and parmesan, with no mozzarella or provolone. The place also dishes up homemade stromboli and calzones, plus starters, salads and subs.
For more information, call 740-879-4709.