Cooking is Dinesh Rawat’s passion. Growing up in north India, and then immigrating to the United States, he’s taken his love for cooking everywhere he goes.
He has been the chef at Masala since he and his wife started the business in 2007 in New Jersey. He moved his family and business under the same name to Myrtle Beach in 2013. He and his wife wanted to be closer to family in the less expensive Grand Strand area.
Now, going on six years of operation, he and his wife, Sirisha Rawat, who is a partner in the business, are moving into a newer, larger building allowing them to expand services.
“We just love this place,” Sirisha Rawat said. The new location will be 4025 N. Kings Hwy. near the Walmart Neighborhood Market off 40th Avenue.
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The restaurant, previously located on Kings Highway across the street from the Piggly Wiggly, serves authentic Indian cuisine like paneer, curry and, of course, masala for both meat eaters and vegetarians. The establishment has a lunch buffet, dinner menu and takeout.
Masala will be closed for the move from January to March as the new space is prepared. Sirisha Rawat said they hope the new location will be more vibrant and rustic in decor.
Once opened, Dinesh Rawat wants to try new ingredients that are not traditional to Indian food — like lobster — and create his own fusion dishes with a personal spin on what is offered.
As it stands, the current menu is popular online. Facebook reviewers of Masala give the restaurant a 4.7 out of 5 with nearly 200 reviews. One reviewer said it’s one of the best Indian food restaurants they’ve eaten at in South Carolina.
Leaving the old establishment was not an easy decision given all the memories there, but Dinesh Rawat said it was time to get something bigger.
“The old place is like a second home,” Sirisha Rawat said. “I didn’t want to move initially.”
By moving into a new building, they will be able to have a party room for large groups, more seating areas and a full bar, something the old restaurant did not have. The owners are going to bartending school to learn how to make cocktails. While they expect to hire a dedicated bartender, Sirisha Rawat said it’s important they know how to make drinks as well so they can give their drink menu a twist.
“We want to use Indian spices in the drinks,” she said.