People have been lining up lately in front of the new Indian-Nepali restaurant in downtown Montpelier at 100 Main Street. Dumplings, noodle soup, lamb curry, samosas, and other favorite Indian/Nepalese dishes are on the menu.
The Bridge went to check it out in the middle of August — a few weeks after it opened for takeout only. The phone rang constantly around 4 p.m. during the roughly ten minutes The Bridge spent in the new restaurant at the corner of Langdon and Main, where Down Home Kitchen used to be, and where Rivendell Books was located before that. Phyllis Morrisette handled the phones, and she barely had a second in between calls to get the owner for a brief interview.
Krishna Paudel appeared from the back, well dressed, but looking like she had been in the middle of hard work. She offered me a big smile and agreed to answer questions. She exuded intelligence, energy, and good nature. Paudel had started serving Nepali food for takeout about a week before The Bridge visit. She said she had planned to open June 15, but got delayed because of the pandemic, which had caused a slow shipment in furniture and equipment Paudel had ordered from China.
Paudel is an entrepreneur who was born in Bhutan and grew up in Nepal. “When I was 5, in 1992, we came to Nepal from Bhutan. Bhutan kicked out Nepalese people,” she said. She lived in exile with her family in Nepal for 19 years. Following her Nepali childhood, Paudel studied economics and mathematics at Tribhuvan University in Nepal, but “I dreamed to open a restaurant.”
Eventually she wound up in Vermont, where she first opened a restaurant called “Everest” in South Burlington. But a family matter back in Nepal in 2018 forced her to sell Everest to a family member in Vermont. She had to untangle a situation in which her husband, Randeep Paudel, was having trouble with the paperwork that would allow him to come to the United States.
Once the Paudels arrived back in Vermont, Paudel continued her dream of being in the restaurant business. She founded Indian Nepali Kitchen in May 2020, according to the website indiannepalikitchen.com. Then, the Paudels opened Kathmandu Restaurant in St. Albans at 133 North Main Street on June 8. They also decided to open a Montpelier location at 100 Main Street, which had been vacated by Down Home Kitchen last winter.
“When you think of delicious food in Vermont, remember the Namaste Indian Nepalese Restaurant in Vermont’s capital city Montpelier,” writes Krishna Paudel on the website indiannepalikitchen.com.
The restaurant’s name, Namaste, is a Hindu greeting, “I bow to you,” according to Dictionary.com.