Bollywood moving into iconic Lenny’s in California
The Indian eatery’s lounge will transform into Tap House 1637
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  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.
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.