Raaga to shut­ter doors after 6 years

Chef cites per­sonal health is­sues for clo­sure of pop­u­lar restau­rant

Santa Fe New Mexican - - LOCAL & REGION -

After more than six years of serv­ing his sa­vory modern In­dian cui­sine in an adobe cot­tage on Agua Fría Street, on the prop­erty of the for­mer San­busco Mar­ket Cen­ter, chef Pramod “Paddy” Rawal has an­nounced he will close the pop­u­lar restau­rant Satur­day.

“With deep grat­i­tude and hu­mil­ity I an­nounce that upon the ad­vice of my per­sonal physi­cian re­gard­ing my health, I can no longer main­tain the pace that Raaga de­mands,” Rawal said in a state­ment Fri­day evening.

He could not be reached to com­ment fur­ther on the de­ci­sion.

Rawal, a na­tive of Mum­bai who moved to the U.S. in 2001, has been in the restau­rant busi­ness for nearly three decades. He opened Raaga in 2011. Since then, it has re­ceived pos­i­tive re­views in lo­cal pub­li­ca­tions and on­line sites, and has been a reg­u­lar par­tic­i­pant in com­mu­nity events and lo­cal fundrais­ers, such as the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fi­esta, the ARTfeast Edi­ble Art Tour, which ben­e­fits art pro­grams in Santa Fe Pub­lic Schools, and the Souper Bowl soup com­pe­ti­tion, which raises funds for The Food De­pot.

In 2014, Rawal re­leased his first self-pub­lished cook­book, The Raaga Cook­book: Modern In­dian Cui­sine. Last year, he pro­duced an­other cook­book, Curry, Korma & Ke­bab: A Culi­nary Jour­ney of In­dia.

Also in 2016, Rawal ap­peared as a con­tes­tant on an episode of the Food Net­work show Chopped.

The no­table chef got a shoutout on live TV ear­lier this year by day­time talk-show host Kelly Ripa, who va­ca­tioned in Santa Fe and raved about the city in an episode. She and her hus­band en­joyed a meal at Raaga, Ripa said, and they got to meet Rawal.

But that’s not un­usual. The busy chef is known to take time away from the kitchen to visit with his din­ers.

One of his fa­vorite as­pects of run­ning Raaga, Rawal said in an in­ter­view with The New Mex­i­can shortly after the restau­rant opened, is “the di­ver­sity of the din­ers and the aware­ness lo­cals have about var­i­ous eth­nic cui­sine.” Be­cause his reg­u­lar pa­trons are so well-trav­eled, Rawal said, he was able to be more ex­per­i­men­tal with his menu, adding dishes with a con­tem­po­rary flair to his tra­di­tional In­dian cui­sine.

In his state­ment is­sued late last week, Rawal said, “I am deeply grate­ful to my staff and to the com­mu­nity, guests and pa­trons for the en­cour­ag­ing re­sponse I have re­ceived over the past six years.”

Pramod ‘Paddy’ Rawal

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