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Chhaya Café on East Passyunk settles into its new, bigger space

V Beuria checked out Chhaya Café's new location while it was under construction. / Provided V Beuria checked out Chhaya Café's new location while it was under construction. / Provided

Chef and owner of Chhaya Café,Varnana "V" Beuria, recently moved her restaurant on Passyunk Avenue two doors down to a larger location. We caught up with her about the move, her predictions for the future, and her affinity for strange waffle platters. Remember the cheesesteak waffle? That was Beuria.

How was the move? Better or worse than moving apartments?

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Worse, definitely worse. Moving is my least favorite thing. When my husband and I bought our house six years ago I said I was never moving again. The restaurant move got a little hairy when construction fell a few weeks behind and everything came down to the wire.

But clearly it worked out. What can we expect at the new location that we couldn't get before?

It's a lot more comfortable than before. I think because we were so small it kept some people away, especially during the busy weekends. We also have a bigger kitchen, so we can do more now. We are looking to expand the menu a little bit – maybe start making some of our own lunch meats in-house. We're excited, but taking it very slowly to maintain quality.

Think you'll expand into a dinner menu?

For now we're sticking with breakfast, lunch and brunch. When we made the move I didn't consider it because there are so many great restaurants on the Ave. already. But I had a lot of people ask me — regulars and neighbors — if I'd make dinner. They keep making the same point: Passyunk has a lot of great places for dinner, but most are more high-end, not places you'd go to a few times a week. Much further down the line we might explore this option.

At Chhaya, you're known for your strange waffle combinations. How do you come up with them?

We believe that almost anything tastes good on a waffle, and haven't come across too many things that don't. We try to be playful and take classic dishes and just put our own spin on it. My staff will sometimes make things that seem like an odd combination but end up being delicious. We wouldn't serve it if we didn't think it was great.

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