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Aug 19, 2008 10:08 AM

What happened to Spice and Curry????

My coworkers and I had lunch today at what used to be our favorite Indian lunch spot at Spice and Curry in Durham. We were immediately suprised that the restaurant was nearly empty at noon and the back room that normally sat the overflow of customers from the main dining room was closed. The longer we stayed, the more changes were apparent. None of the friendly, familiar staff was there, the room was missing it's charm and ambiance...and then there was the food. The naan was cardboard, the soup was watery and dull, many dishes tasted soured and rancid. I could go on, but I'll just leave it at this: the food was bad. We overheard other customers talking about other Indian restaurants in the area and knew we were not alone in discussing a substitute! Upon leaving, with an upset stomach and a disproportionatly lighter wallet, we found out that they are under new ownership. Does anyone know what happened to the old owners? I know that they also own Udipi in Cary, but why would they sell such a busy, seemingly successful business? And allow their name and reputation to go with it!

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  1. thanks for the heads up.. Is the shop still open? Is it still stocked with good Indian spices & fruits & veg?

    In Chapel Hill a brand new Indian place is going to open on Franklin hope it's good.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Rory

      DArn it, and my DH and I were just talking about trying it! We have been wanting to get some Indian lately and it seems the "good" places are not good anymore. We used to go to the place behind the gas station in RTP for lunch and it was good, but no more. Has anyone been to Saffron lately? I have been hearing worrisome reports. Also, I hear that Royal India on has changed hands, possibly for the better????

      We haven't eaten much Indian for years, since the kids have always been kinda iffy about it, although they like almost every other kinda cuisine. Now that they are older, we are ready to try again with them and Indian, but it seems "good" Indian restaurants are a bit of a moving target.

      So what are the best Indian places NOW in Raleigh/Cary/RTP?

      1. re: VaNC

        A few months back Suchi in Cary went through some changes. It seems like changes in ownership frequently result in patrons who are unhappy with the new offerings. I don't know if that's because people don't like change or the new ownership wants to assert their own identity on their new restaurant.

        We didn't like the changes at Suchi and haven't been back, which goes against my "don't judge a restaurant based on one visit" rule, but they changed the menu.

        1. re: VaNC


          As of last month, I was still very pleased with Saffron. My frame of reference may be different than yours: I've only been there for dinner and always ordered off the menu, so I can't comment on the buffet or the lunch service.

          1. re: Tom from Raleigh

            I've only had the dinner at Saffron once a few months ago (which was fantastic), but had the lunch buffet in the past month and it was still quite good. We had a dinner at Udupi last week that was just fantastic, but Saffron is a much closer drive for us and is a nice meal after a run or bike ride on a weekend morning.

            1. re: VaNC

              Royal India is under new ownership; I posted about it when I learned a few weeks back, here's my report. I'd like to add that the last few times I've been the crunch naan issue has been corrected....


            2. re: Rory

              Where is the new Indian place opening?!

              1. re: dnwoodbury

                Isn't it about a half block from the other indian place on West Franklin? Driving by last week the theme looked more contemporary than other Indian places around here

                1. re: brokegradstudent

                  It's only two doors down from India Palace! If the new place, called Mint, is any good, I suspect India Palace will fold quickly.

            3. I really like Chosun OK which is in the same strip mall as Spice and Curry. If you've never been, you should check it out.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Tom from Raleigh

                Chosun Ok is great. I second that.

                Otto, I've never seen anyone in India Palace! Now I'm veg, adore Indian food, my family loves Indian food. I do hope the owners of Mint have a 1st class chef. They have the clientele; they just need to deliver really good food.

                1. re: Rory

                  I thought the same thing, and as I was walking down Franklin St. toward the Cradle the other night (and missed Polvo, alas!), I made a similar observation to my friend. He told me, though, that he always sees a steady South Asian crowd at IP and, sure enough, to prove me wrong, about six folks were lingering outside of the restaurant just after closing.

                  I used to eat there a lot when I first moved to the area -- because I was young enough where I could gorge on the buffet without real consequence -- but they got rid of the all-you-can-eat & changed owners, and their lunch-time crowd seemed to diminish significantly. The last time I went was a rainy night about two years ago and the food I had -- a few appetizers, like pakoras and samosas -- were so bad that I wouldn't go back unless famished.

                  So I, too, hope Mint does well. From what I can glean, it looks like they're trying to set up a classy operation and they've proclaimed on their sign that it will be upscale Indian food.

              2. Durbar 84 (the Nepalese place in the shopping center across 54) also has closed, sadly.

                3 Replies
                1. re: surffisher

                  Spice & Curry, Durbar 84, Bombay Grill, and Tandoor-- four Indian restos within a mile or so of each other. I don't know what they were thinking, a couple of them were bound to go out of business.

                  I don't know how but IP and Tandoor in Chapel Hill continue to limp along. Actually, the best Indian resto in Chapel Hill was Darbar, in the space now occupied by The Lantern. I hope Mint turn it up a few notches.

                  A la carte menu doesn't do justice to Indian cooking. If I was running an Indian restaurant I'd do a buffet lunch and a prix fix dinner where for a set price you got to choose from 3-4 apps, 5-6 entrees, and 2-3 desserts, along with a few complimentary chutneys and pickles. This would allow for the time needed to properly develop the flavors of curries.

                  1. re: bbqme

                    a good indian restaurant in chapel hill would do very well, i think. there does need to be an upgrade from the existing selections. darbar -- that was a while ago!

                  2. re: surffisher

                    What? There was a Nepalese place in town? I can't belive I missed it. I LOVE nepalese food and always make sure I go to the Nepalese restaurant when i am in DC. Bummer!

                  3. Sitar Indian Palace in Durham is very good. And they are in the process of building a new one (actually renovating the old Lone Star on 15-501) - still looks like it will be a while before it is ready to open.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Jeanne

                      well said. Thalis are the ideal way to go.....I"m so hungry. I'm glad Mint will be upscale. I am positively yearning for them to open;-)

                      1. re: Jeanne

                        I ate at Sitar last night and the owners told me that they plan to open their new location (the old Lone Star on 15-501) in November. It seems that, for a period of time, both locations will operate simultaneously. It sounded like there was some concern that the private rooms for banquets and special functions would not immediately be ready when the new location opens, so they will be keeping the original location open until those rooms are ready in the new spot.