Guests who stop by can expect to be warmly welcomed by the staff, who maintain an atmosphere of hospitality in an area of town that can at times feel rushed, where shoppers running errands might understandably need a rest. The owners, Ranjit and Varinder Dosanjh – who go by their nicknames “Junior” and “Brenda” – make personal relationships with their customers a top priority.
“We’re not a chain restaurant … India 4 U is family-run, so we get to know people,” said Junior. “They’re not just customers. What you’ll also find here are flavors, something many other restaurants don’t focus on. The food is very flavorful. All of it is fresh; we don’t use canned food.
“We also don’t use processed food … our menu is very healthy and there is not a lot of fat in it. The meals are versatile and can go from being very mild to very spicy. With Indian food, it’s all a matter of preference … and it’s a lot more than just curry.”
Syreen Issa is a customer who agrees that Indian cuisine has a lot to offer. “The mango lassis are a refreshing must-try,” she said, referring to a popular South Asian milkshake that features a variety of fruit blends. “I love how they’re able to present the traditional Indian culture and cuisine in a friendly, cozy atmosphere.”
Syreen’s brother, Khairi, had some thoughts of his own to share while dining. “I enjoy the ethnic ambiance,” he said. “It’s a great place to hang out and have a good meal like lamb curry.” The two of them especially enjoyed the Bollywood Wings, chicken wings marinated in Indian spices, along with their mango lassis. The samosa appetizers also received strong compliments from the two guests.
In addition to a diverse menu, first-time customers will find a full bar stocked with wine, spirits, and beer – everything from the best Indian brews like Taj Mahal and Kingfisher to the top domestic and European brands. Some guests stop by just to enjoy a drink and chat with the Dosanjh family. While explaining their restaurant’s mission in the community, Junior was moving about, engaging in conversation with customers, whether they were first-timers or loyal regulars.
The customers are plentiful at India 4 U, but Brenda explained that the couple’s desire to open an Indian restaurant went a lot deeper than simply running a business for a source of income.
“There weren’t any Indian restaurants around here,” she said. “I wanted to introduce the cuisine, especially northern Indian food, to the community.” Both Brenda and Junior are originally from Punjab, a state in northwestern India that shares a border with Pakistan, although they’ve lived in the United States a long time. Brenda went on to say that getting people to try the food is her biggest goal – she’s happy whenever she can broaden customers’ horizons. And she’s been encouraged from the beginning, when the restaurant first came onto the scene in late 2003.
“It was very busy the first couple of days,” she said enthusiastically. “Even before we officially opened, people were knocking on the door asking when we would be in business.”
Economically, a significant degree of uncertainty might still be hanging over the community and the state of California, but Junior holds a positive view of the future: “We’ve been here for years now. Looking forward is to keep serving new food and new clientele … and get more locals to put aside false assumptions by trying something they’ve never had before.”
India 4 U is located at 5759 Lone Tree Way in the Slatten Ranch shopping center in Antioch. For more information, call 925-757-7475.