A wildly popular restaurant that’s been serving vegan fare for years in downtown Edmonton says its decision to open a second location on the city’s south side has to do with the very personal connection it’s developed with its visitors.
“People keep telling us, ‘You need to open a second location… please come to the south side,’ says Maya Paramitha, the general manager at Padmanadi. “There’s so much request for a second location that as a family, we want to open another one from a place that we as a family can do.
“So we came up with… ‘Why don’t we open something small?’ Still serving the good food, but more of the quick service.”
These days, the aroma created by cooking Indonesian, Chinese, Thai and Indian fare regularly attracts large crowds of appreciative diners as it wafts through Padmanadi’s 130-seat establishment on 101 Street south of 108 Avenue. But Paramitha says the majority of people who show up to eat at her family restaurant are from the south side.
The new restaurant will be located on Gateway Boulevard, north of 68 Avenue and be a smaller incarnation of the original with just 24 seats. It will also adopt more of a “grab and go” concept, according to Paramitha, who says the eatery won’t have servers and will focus on takeout and delivery.
“We’re serving the same food but just on a smaller scale,” she says. “[It’ll be a place that for many south Edmontonians] we’ll be able to do deliveries from, and for people to … [grab food from] on their way to work or on their way home.”
While Padmanadi’s owners describe the business as a vegetarian restaurant, it actually serves entirely vegan fare. However, Paramitha says the restaurant attracts many people who aren’t vegetarian or vegan and that it’s simply the tastes created in its kitchen that win people over.
“The whole plant-based scene is huge in Edmonton,” Paramitha says. “Over the course of — I would say — three years, we’ve had about eight [new vegan] restaurants open up… I think this is definitely not a trend, these are definitely here to stay.
“But I also think that regardless of what kind of cuisine you serve, as long as it’s good food, good quality food, people will still come… We cater for everyone — you don’t have to be vegetarian to come in here,” she says.
Watch above: On Sept. 23, 2018, Julia Wong filed this report about Edmonton’s thriving plant-based restaurant scene.
Paramitha says the close bond between the restaurant and its loyal clientele is no accident.
“We moved from Indonesia 16 years ago (and) there was only the four of us — mom, dad, me and my sister,” she says. “We came her, we had no family, no friends — nobody.
“We came here and… we wanted to make this home so we started talking to people and sort of started making a community type of feel and I think when you come in here, that’s what sets [it] apart from just just coming out to eat dinner than coming to Padmanadi, because I feel like here, we know you — we know you as a friend.”
The restaurant pays tribute to many of its most loyal customers with beautiful photographed portraits that line the walls on the inside of the eatery.
“There’s always a conversation of, ‘Who are those people on the wall?’” Paramitha says.
Many people also associate Padmanadi with a philanthropic spirit and a sense of duty to help others. Paramitha’s father has at times dropped everything to go to a far-flung place where a natural disaster has struck and do what he can to help, like after a catastrophic earthquake rocked Nepal.
“My dad — he’s amazing,” she says. “He does so much.
“My dad travels everywhere… he has a foundation that helps people who have no parents — orphans… all this money comes from Padmanadi.”
Paramitha says Padmanadi is planning to open its second location in late July or early August.
“We just love what we do here which is why I think opening a second location makes sense,” she says. “[We] love being in this business… being in this community.”
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