Thunder Bay’s Indian Bistro may have only been open for a few months, but those months have been great for the restaurant’s owners.

Situated along Red River Road, in Thunder Bay’s North Core, the restaurants authentic south Indian food has proven very popular, with seats regularly full of eager diners.

Indian Bistro LogoTo find out more about the business, Anvesh Pallabhatla - one of the owners of Indian Bistro - recently spoke to the CEDC about the challenges, and triumphs, of his budding career as an entrepreneur.

  • What started you on the entrepreneurial journey?
    • Not just entrepreneurship, but the basic concept came from when we were students at (Confederation) College here. I was one of the three members that started in 2010, there was only (a few) Indian students at that time, and we had a very hard time finding a house, food, everything. At the time, I had too much trouble, and in the course of my journey, I moved to Ottawa, and after that I moved to Toronto. All these big cities have the best Indian foods supplied to you, so that students can concentrate on their studies. So that’s where the concept came from, at least for me. And my partner already had established his own business in Terrace Bay, called thattasty, so just one phone call made all the difference. I made a phone call over there … saying that I left my job, and I’m just thinking of going into business. And I know that Thunder Bay had its potential, and being it’s my Canadian home town, I thought why shouldn’t we start in Thunder Bay, helping students learn?
  • Where did you turn for assistance/mentoring?
    • We were with the CEDC. Ryan Moore helped us. He guided us with the empty locations for the restaurant, how to get the licencing, and AGCO, all the licences. I would definitely be thankful to him, and Karen (Martin) from CEDC), too. And my (landlords), they are the best. Without them, honestly, this wouldn’t be possible.
  • What were some of the biggest life lessons you’ve learned along the way?
    • It is very stressful. It’s been three months. It’s an overwhelming experience, first thing. While you’re (working), you will stress, but at the end of the day, everything is closed, you can’t imagine how happy the life is. The first month, we didn’t expect this much of a crowd. For the first week, we had like 200 customers sitting, and people standing outside. I had to send a couple of people away. But the overall experience is very good, I can’t explain it in words.
  • What advice would you give to someone who’s just started - or is thinking of starting - their entrepreneurial journey?
    • Working for yourself is the best thing you can do, rather than working for someone else. … Whoever works for me, they don’t feel stressful. It’s all as a family; we are working as a family. Take the energy, get into entrepreneurship. I know it will be stressful for at least two years, but once that two years (is over), you know how many people you have helped. That’s the best feeling in the world, helping someone getting on their feet is the best thing.
  • What was something that was unexpected in this journey?
    • The first week’s crowd was unexpected. It was overwhelming. It’s in a good sense, right? My stress (tolerance) is higher, so for some people even a smaller thing looks big, for me the big thing looks smaller.
  • What was the greatest moment in this journey?
    • Whenever my customer says they’re having the best food. The negative energy around your body just blows away.
  • If you could be a food, which would it be?
    • My mom’s food. Anything she cooks.
  • What is your business’ short pitch?
    • The best south Indian food in Thunder Bay.

Indian Bistro can be at 250 Red River Road in Thunder Bay. For more information, visit the website at theindianbistro.com.

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