Bol­ly­wood mov­ing into iconic Lenny’s in Cal­i­for­nia

The In­dian eatery’s lounge will trans­form into Tap House 1637

Maryland Independent - - Business - DAR­WIN WEIGEL dweigel@somd­news.com @somd_bized­i­tor

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A new bird has landed on the iconic Lenny’s pine tree sign along Three Notch Road in Cal­i­for­nia. Soon, Bol­ly­wood Masala will re­place the Lenny’s mon­icker. The Lex­ing­ton Park In­dian restau­rant is mov­ing to the 64-year-old lo­ca­tion with a planned April 1 open­ing.

“It is a pine tree with a dif­fer­ent bird on it. The birds keep chang­ing,” Bol­ly­wood owner Rajneesh “Raj” Kaushel said, shortly af­ter mak­ing the de­ci­sion in early March to keep the iconic sign. Bol­ly­wood Masala will be the third name the sign has held.

“The pine tree was es­tab­lished back in [1952] be­cause this was a bar­be­cue restau­rant called the Knotty Pine,” Kaushel’s son and busi­ness part­ner, Sahil “Sunny” Mal­ho­tra, said.

Ruby McMil­lan opened the Knotty Pine with her son, Lenny Re­barchick, in 1952, ac­cord­ing to Lenny’s son, Daniel Re­barchick. The restau­rant was re­named Lenny’s in 1963 and Daniel pur­chased it from his fa­ther in 1981 when he re­tired. De­clin­ing rev­enue forced its clo­sure Dec. 13 last year.

“The bank went to fore­clo­sure on me. I’m be­ing forced to re­tire, and forced to lose the place,” Daniel Re­barchick said in a Novem­ber story in The En­ter­prise news­pa­per in St. Mary’s County.

Now a new fam­ily is mov­ing in, and Re­barchick couldn’t be hap­pier.

“It’s a good group of guys. There will be a fam­ily-ori­ented busi­ness here. That’s a good thing,” Re­barchick said while go­ing over build­ing de­tails with Kaushel and Mal­ho­tra ear­lier this month. “I’m go­ing to come and hang out with Sunny.”

Kaushel and his wife, head chef Shubh “Mona” Kaushel, will bring their 175-item menu re­plete with all the se­cret sauces and spices the two have de­vel­oped over the last 13 years.

“On av­er­age, an In­dian restau­rant has about five or six veg­e­tari- an [dishes], we have 26,” Kaushel said. “And we have ve­gan also. We cater to the ve­g­ans, the gluten free, the veg­e­tar­i­ans.”

Kaushel’s look­ing for­ward to the larger kitchen space, which will pro­vide for a lock­able spice-and­sauce mix­ing lab.

“The [cook­ing] is done by me and my wife, and we don’t hand out recipes to any­body,” Kaushel said.

“They won’t even give them to me,” Mal­ho­tra said with a laugh. “He’s the new KFC, Colonel San­ders.”

Mal­ho­tra, who runs the lounge at the old lo­ca­tion, is plan­ning to turn the eight-year-old ban­quet hall ad­di­tion at Lenny’s into a tap house with a wide se­lec­tion of craft beers — 22 to 30 on tap.

Daniel Re­barchick “called the ban­quet room the ‘St. Mary’s Room.’ For my tap house we’re go­ing to name it ‘Tap House 1637,’ be­cause 1637 was the year St. Mary’s County was es­tab­lished,” Mal­ho­tra said.

The tap house will serve In­dian-in­fused dishes as well as typ­i­cal bar food.

Mal­ho­tra plans on hav­ing a weekly sched­ule of events, such as pint night, Latin dance night, and pos­si­bly karaoke on Fri­days.

“My old place was known for do­ing big late-night events, DJs and bands and stuff like that,” he said. “I won’t be do­ing them as fre­quently to start off with over here. I will be do­ing one big event a month.”

“I’m think­ing of putting in two giant-size Jen­gas, just for peo­ple to do some­thing while they’re drink­ing,” he said. Jenga is a block-stack­ing game.

“If they drink too much, they can’t build it up.” Raj Kaushel said with a laugh.

Speak­ing of drink­ing too much, the Bol­ly­wood and tap house own­ers are plan­ning a shut­tle ser­vice and food de­liv­ery.

“Very soon af­ter we start off, since we’re so close to Wilde­wood, we’ll be pro­vid­ing free home de­liv­ery for food,” Mal­ho­tra said. “And all Wilde­wood gets free shut­tle ser­vice on the week­ends from the tap house to go back home. No­body has to drive.”

Both Kaushel and Mal­ho­tra are ner­vous and ex­cited about mov­ing to the new, larger lo­ca­tion. They are con­cerned about pos­si­bly los­ing some of their lunch buf­fet crowd from Patux­ent River Naval Air Sta­tion, but hope to con­nect with new In­dian food lovers.

“It’s very ex­cit­ing yet very nerve rack­ing,” Mal­ho­tra said. “Af­ter eight years we’re mov­ing and hav­ing to start ev­ery­thing fresh in a dif­fer­ent type of mar­ket. I think it will be in­ter­est­ing to find a new mar­ket for our­selves, es­pe­cially the lunch busi­ness.”

“Our only ner­vous­ness is that our cus­tomers, our clients [have high ex­pec­ta­tions] — some of them have been with us since 2003,” Kaushel said. “We moved to Wal­dorf, they used to come to Wal­dorf. They are like a big fam­ily to us all these peo­ple here. Those are the peo­ple that have very high ex­pec­ta­tions of us.”

The restau­rant was moved to Wal­dorf for a short time, but moved back to Lex­ing­ton Park in 2008.

“It’ll be a very in­ter­est­ing move,” he added. “It’ll be in­ter­est­ing to see what we can do with this big space.”

A Bol­ly­wood Masala owned by an­other mem­ber of the fam­ily is open­ing in La Plata soon.

Twit­ter:

STAFF PHOTO BY DAR­WIN WEIGEL

Rajneesh “Raj” Kaushel, left, and his son, Sahil “Sunny” Mal­ho­tra, stand in front of the well-known Lenny’s sign along Three Notch Road in Cal­i­for­nia. The two are mov­ing their Bol­ly­wood Masala restau­rant and lounge from Lex­ing­ton Park to the Cal­i­for­nia lo­ca­tion.

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