Nyack Sketch Log: During COVID-19, Restaurant Mumbai Dreams Inspires

by Bill Batson

I recently saw Nausil Kumandan, owner of the newly opened restaurant, Mumbai Dreams, in the parking lot of Montefiore Nyack Hospital. He was delivering donated food to frontline health care workers.

A note attached to each box read:

Strength, Courage, Hope, Appreciation, Determination, Motivation, Patience, Perseverance, Our Community.

Originally it was for their cuisine, but now for their philanthropy, Mumbai Dreams inspires.

I’ve seen no mention, but a friend tells me you have donated a dinner to every person at Depew Manor.

Nausil Kumandan, owner, Mumbai Dreams

Shhhhhh, that’s a secret, it’s from the heart. My parents came from very humble beginnings; they struggled a lot in the early parts of
their life. There were times when they had no food and they had were very low income.

Hearing/feeling their stories has always inspired me to give back. It’s part of
life, we all have to support and have each others’ backs when we’re in a
tight spot. If my parents didn’t have that support I wouldn’t be here.

So I don’t advertise what is essential.

That being said, in today’s social media
environment, secrets travel fast so if my actions can inspire then the job is done.

How has the policy of social distancing impacted your business?

I’ve always been a social person thus having a dialogue with my customers is very
important in how I run my business. Even with the current environment my regulars and I still chat when they call to place an order. We’ve had to adjust and are focusing more on curbside and delivery service. My team is still intact but we’ve had to cut back on hours. It’s a tough time but the
community has been great; we’ve gotten a lot of support and an increase in new customers.

Have you submitted an SBA application disaster relief?

I have not submitted the application but am currently reviewing the requirements. It’s a very difficult time for Mumbai Dreams. We didn’t expect 6 months after our grand opening we would be forced to shutdown our dine-in operations. I’m confident the government relief efforts will add fuel to the industry and bring us back stronger than ever.

Nyack Nourishes

Nyack Nourishes has an important mission: To provide meals for the health care heroes working at Montefiore Nyack Hospital and the Nyack Community Ambulance Corps — while at the same time supporting local Nyack restaurants.

Nyack Nourishes will provide 50 individually boxed, full-course meals per day to our health care heroes. The food will be prepared and packaged by the hard-working people working at the restaurants in Nyack that we all treasure.

This initiative is headed up by a handful of local residents working with the support of the Nyack Chamber of Commerce, Nyack restaurants, Montefiore Nyack Hospital and the Nyack Community Ambulance Corp. A Go Fund Me page is now ready for contributions.

Click here to learn more or donateAll donations go straight to the local Nyack restaurants providing these meals.

Spread the word, and feel free to contact Annie Hekker Weiss or Susan Wilmink through the GoFundMe platform if you have any questions or would like to volunteer.  You can also contact the team through the Nyack Nourishes website, nyacknourishes.com

How has your experience been as one of the participants of Nyack Nourishes? How does it work?

I’m actually very excited to represent our community and support an initiative for our frontline. This is a very stressful time for hospitals and if providing a healthy meal can brighten a day, bring a smile or even show that we care then it’s mission accomplished. We are planning to offer a mix of 25 non-veg & 25 vegetarian healthy meals with a weekly change in menu. In addition, Nyack Nourishes is also supporting restaurants during this difficult time by providing donated funds from the community to pay for the meals. This is uncharted territory for many businesses thus having your community come out and support shows a united front.

When did your Mumbai Dream begin?

As soon as my Dad had his grand opening! I grew up in the business, it’s been part of my bloodline, my life, it’s my passion. I remember working weekends, taking orders, doing deliveries, counting my tips at the end of the night. It just brought me pure joy, watching how the restaurant functions. All the credit goes to my parents who taught me a lot about food; even today I can just sit in the kitchen and watch my Mom make my favorite dishes. She gets all the credit for Mumbai Dreams, as a good portion of the menu are her recipes.

What are your early memories of being in the family restaurants in Brooklyn?

We had two restaurants which ran for over 30 years. The first was in Cobble Hill and the second was in Park Slope, where we resided. I remember my lunch breaks as my elementary school was a block away, especially the chicken tandoori, cheeseburgers, masala fries, curry and the fragrant basmati rice my Dad would make.

On Tuesdays he would make a special Maharashtrian chicken curry which was my favorite, I can still remember the taste. Sorry I’m a foodie, so that’s pretty much what my early restaurant memories are about.

What are some of the enduring lessons you learned from the family business?

I always remembered how my Dad welcomed his customers. It was as if they were family or old friends. A customer would walk in with a smile and walk out with one. He would always remember customers’ favorite dishes, the spice level, and the preparation. His customer service was always next level and very rare to find in today’s time. He also had great vision and could see an empty water glass from afar, when a plate needed to be removed or when a refill on the basmati rice was needed. His vision was something I was always in awe of and till this day try to match.

How does the cuisine reflect Mumbai?

Two of the best culinary cities in the world in my opinion are New York and Mumbai. When I was planning the concept, I knew the food would be influenced by the region, the cooking techniques, the spices, and add in our homestyle recipes. I wanted my menu to reflect authentic Indian food which is hard to find today. Customers are always raving about the freshness they taste in our food, the spices, that’s the result of premium products with a mix of love and passion.

Is there any significance to the lantern that is part of your decor that I used for my sketch?

The candle holder or lantern has great significance to my parents upbringing and my visits back to India at a young age. We had very limited electricity in our village and would rely on candles or kerosene lanterns for lighting. I remember in each room, we would have a single lantern which didn’t give us the brightness of a light bulb but we made it work. In addition, we would use them to get around our village during night as we had no street lights.

Even today our village has sporadic outages, older folks bring out the lanterns while the youngsters use the iPhone flashlight!

How did you come to open your restaurant in Nyack?

I LOVE NYACK; it’s always been a part of my life. My family and I would frequently head up
north for weekend getaways and would travel via the Tappan Zee. I remember sitting in my Dad’s car gazing at the homes on the hills and telling my Mom one day we will live in this town. The Palisades mall was always a favorite destination to shop and we would save time to walk through the village, spending some time by the waterfront. Even today when I commute from Brooklyn I always have a moment of peace looking at the picturesque views while crossing the bridge. Nyack is filled with love, diversity and very family oriented which is very important. Even in present day, the community has become one and everyone is doing their part as we struggle through this dark cloud. That was what I wanted when sourcing locations for Mumbai Dreams.

How large is the Indian Community in Rockland?

I was surprised, but it’s a fairly large group from south India many of whom have become customers. I’ve got a soft spot for southern India, as my grandmother was born there and my chef is from Kerala. It’s next on my list of places to travel within India. I’m
finding the younger generation dining with us more and bringing their
parents along who really have appreciated our food. Indian parents approving
food from restaurants is a big thing so we are very grateful and appreciate the
continued support.

Are there any dishes that one might be surprised to find on your menu?

While we have a traditional north Indian /Maharashtrian menu, I’ve added a
creative “East meets West” section. It’s what I grew up eating, a mix of both
cultures. Our butter mac n’ cheese and tacos are very popular, in fact they
have become staples for many of our customers. I remember when first
discussing this menu with my chef he wasn’t very confident, but today he’s a
fan as well. Wait until we re-open the dining room, I have a handful of tricks
up my sleeve. It’s surprise a lot of people to see what I can do with
Indian food.

What’s your dream for Mumbai Dream?

I want Mumbai Dreams to be your first choice when choosing a dining experience. A place where you spend your special moments in life, a place that creates lifetime memories, where you know a good meal is waiting for you. A place where you can come with family, friends and forget about all the problems in the world and just enjoy fine dining…with free parking. Simply to be the best Indian restaurant in the World.

What would you like people to know about Mumbai Dreams?

Mumbai Dreams is a family-owned business offering traditional homestyle Indian cuisine. It’s a culinary journey that was inspired from family recipes, a dream that started at a young age, a passion that grew every day, a love for food. Mumbai Dreams is a thank you to Dawood Kumandan, my dad, who taught me so much, who led by example. It’s a hope, a wish and a prayer that he is looking down on me with pride, with that beautiful smile, knowing that he was my inspiration. It’s my way of telling him I love you and that I’ll take care of the family in his absence.

And now he has adopted the residents of Nyack, into the family, through me.

Mumbia Dreams offers contactless curbside pick-up and contactless free delivery.
Mumbai Dreams is located at 9 Ingalls Street, Nyack, NY 10960 (845) 643-8333 or mumbaidreamsnyack@gmail.com

Bill Batson is an artist and writer who lives and sketches in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “During COVID-19, Restaurant Mumbai Dreams Inspire” © 2020 Bill Batson. To see more, visit billbatsonarts.com 


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