Move Over, Chipotle: The Kati Roll Company’s “Indian Burrito” Is Taking New York By Storm
Move over burrito. There’s a new wrap in town called the kati roll — an Indian version of a burrito with a skewer-roasted kebab wrapped in warm Indian flatbread. And they’re selling like hot cakes.
The story of the kati roll begins in Kolkata at Nizam’s restaurant in the 1932, which had been serving kebabs on skewers and Indian bread (paratha) — quite separately. Legend has it that a customer that was on the go, who did not want to get his hands dirty, asked that the shop create a wrap with warm paratha. While gaining popularity as a street food staple in India through the end of the century, the kati roll has remained an obscurity stateside, until now.
Enter The Kati Roll Company, whose founder Payal Saha moved from India to New York, but soon had recurring night cravings for the dish she grew up. Payal headed back to India to apprentice in various kitchens, master the essential kati roll recipes, and raise capital for a New York location on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. She hoped that she would deliver the authentic flavors that would attract revelers alike, largely non-Indian, would swell into a cult following… necessitating that addition of new locations in midtown Manhattan and London.
Diners at Kati Roll Company now choose from a short-list of fillings like marinated beef, chicken, lamb, egg, shrimp, mixed veggie patty, chana masala, paneer cheese or potatoes wrapped in either a warm paratha or a whole wheat roti. Each kati rolls sells for around $5. The menu also includes organic yogurt lassi, masala chai and Indian beer.
After attracting a wave of interest from potential investors and franchisees alike, the budding fast-casual chain is now poised for large-scale expansion with its latest location opening in New York’s East Village just off St. Marks Place this October.