Late in June, Tarka Indian Kitchen brought fast-casual fare to 721 W. 19th Street in the Heights. Last week, lines were already healthy in the restaurant between Cane Rosso and Hugs & Donuts. It's the first Tarka in Houston, but not the last location for the Austin-based chain.
We spoke to CEO and co-founder Tinku Saini in September about his plans for expansion. The Heights restaurant joins three Austin locations and stores in San Antonio and Round Rock. A second Houston-area Tarka will follow soon at Springwoods Village in Spring. Saini told us he chose both neighborhoods partly because they each have a Torchy's Tacos, which he considers a model of a small Austin business that's expanded successfully.
The cuisine at Tarka is designed to be prepared in 10 minutes and cost less than $10. Nonetheless, meats include grass-fed lamb and all-natural, free-range chicken. Many dishes are vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free. And if there isn't a Tarka near you yet, chances are, it will be sprouting soon.