Just weeks after news broke of the pending closure of Pass & Provision, and less than a month after a similar announcement by the owners of Canopy and Woodbar, another long time Montrose favorite announced its own doors are shutting. Contemporary, high-end Indian kitchen Indika, opened in 2001 by Pondicheri chef-owner Anita Jaisinghani, will close its doors for good at the end of June.
The restaurant parted ways with its founder back in early 2017, when Jaisinghani and business partner Ravi Jaisinghani sold it to Nepalese chefs, who later sold it to Mickey Kapoor (of Khyber) in 2018. A press release, which made the rounds early this week, mentioned languishing first-time visitors as one reason for its closing. In the release, the owners promise daily specials during the month of June to encourage one last farewell from its remaining customers and a hopefully nostalgic community.
“Indika has appreciated your continued support over the past 18 years. We welcome you, our friends and family, to come in this month for a last bite. It’s been a pleasure serving you all and we look forward to sharing our next project with the ever-evolving Montrose restaurant scene,” reads the release.
What exactly that next project will be remains unclear, though early indications are that it will take over the current Indika location.
Already, 2019 has been a tough year for Montrose restaurants. With soaring property values and the influx of chains like the new Shake Shack on Westheimer, the neighborhood is at risk of going the way of Rice Village — a posh retail destination for out-of-town chains.
This summer’s closings are not the expected shuttering of run-down old dives, nor the eventual rotation of aging and unappealing eateries. All four restaurants were well loved, contemporary, even innovative staples of Houston’s dining scene. Indika was an inspired concept by a James Beard nominated chef, Pass & Provisions enjoyed a James Beard nod itself, and sister concepts Canopy and Woodbar were some of Houston’s most desirable spots for brunch and coffee.
Their demise is a bad omen for several of Montrose’s seemingly successful, long-term commercial residents. Businesses already feeling the pressure of unsustainable rents and increased turnover.
For now, at least, Indika diners can enjoy one last Biryani platter or Portuguese Vindaloo before they’re gone for good. Daily specials will be posted on the restaurants Facebook and Instagram pages, and every day until June 30 Lonestar bottles are $2. To encourage more walk-in business, the restaurant won’t accept reservations for parties smaller than six.
While its closing is no doubt a blow to the neighborhood, fans can be sure that Kapoor’s next concept will be something special. The Khyber owner has a solid culinary reputation and an obvious penchant for Subcontinental cuisine. Perhaps Indika’s replacement will be yet another Indian restaurant, a second Khyber location, or some modern fusion concept like the newly opened Cowboys and Indians in Midtown — just so long as it’s not another Torchy’s.