A new Indian restaurant will soon be opening in the former Bagitos space on Main Street, Montpelier. In the fall of 2019, I spoke with Soren Pfeffer, former owner of Bagitos, about buying his restaurant. I recall how passionate he was about Indian food and how he felt it would be a good fit for Montpelier. In fact, toward the end of his tenure, Pfeffer enlisted an Indian cook to prepare her homestyle dishes to sell alongside the usual lineup of bagels and burritos.
Sara Lourie eventually purchased Bagitos, although she changed the name to Food for Thought. Because of both the pandemic and staff issues, she closed the restaurant in just seven months. Since then, the location has remained vacant until recently, when colorful photos of food and a sign appeared in the window announcing: “Opening Soon, KSherpa Dinner House LLC., Indo-Chinese Restaurant.”
Montpelier’s first Indian restaurant arrived on the scene in August 2020, when Namaste Indian Nepali Kitchen opened in the former location of Down Home Kitchen. Namaste’s business was brisk from day one, with crowds of enthusiastic customers waiting outside for take-out. This was an ambitious endeavor, not only because it was launched during a pandemic, but because the husband-and-wife team, Randeep and Krishna Paudel, had opened Kathmandu Restaurant in St. Albans just two months earlier. This wasn’t Krishna’s first restaurant, however, as she was original owner of Everest Indian-Nepali Restaurant in South Burlington, which opened in 2018 with the help of her business partner, Kamal Sherpa. At that time, Sherpa, according to Paudel in interviews with Seven Days and the Burlington Free Press, owned two Nepalese restaurants in Queens, N.Y., where he would train cooks before sending them to Vermont to work at Everest.
Current records indicate that Sherpa has since moved to Vermont and is now involved in a number of Indian-Nepali eateries locally, one being the aforementioned soon-to-open KSherpa Dinner House in the former Bagitos location.
Regarding KSherpa’s menu, nothing is certain. We’ve reached out to Mr. Sherpa a number of times for this article, but he has not responded. If pictures in the storefront window are any indication, it will likely feature dishes similar to Namaste, and some other Nepalese-owned eateries around Vermont. Such menus, featuring staples from Nepal, India, China, and Tibet, are generally designated under the term “Himalayan” (referring to the vast mountain range that extends across that region). The range of offerings can be found in cafes frequented by tourists in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, and feature classics of South Asian cuisine popular with both visitors and locals alike.
Viewed as a whole, it’s a remarkable testament to the hard work, perseverance, and opportunities of Vermont’s Bhutanese/Nepali immigrants. And for fans of the flavorful food of South Asia, it means we will soon be able to explore another exciting option in downtown Montpelier’s restaurant scene.