Drums couple opens Indian restaurant in W-B
WILKES-BARRE, Jan 05, 2013 (The Citizens' Voice - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Downtown Wilkes-Barre has a new ethnic restaurant to add to its array of cuisines from around the world.
Letts Eat -- Flavors of India held its grand opening Friday in the space formerly occupied by Blue Chip Gourmet downtown at East Northampton and South Main streets.
Husband and wife Abid and Kavita Syed, who are originally from India and now live in Drums, opened the restaurant, which will have a lunch buffet Monday through Friday and dinner specials.
Kavita Syed said she and her husband were excited and nervous about opening the new Indian restaurant but also "very confident about our food."
Opening a restaurant was a dream come true, she said. When she moved to America and met people from New York, New Jersey and Northeastern Pennsylvania, she found that people like Indian food and few restaurants offer the authentic taste.
She said the closest restaurant serving authentic Indian cuisine is more than 10 miles away -- Amber Indian Restaurant in Moosic. There also is an Indian grocer nearby in Wilkes-Barre Township: India Bazaar.
The name "Letts Eat" was their 9-year-old daughter Aleeza's idea. They decided to make the name different by taking out the apostrophe and adding an extra "t" and Flavors of India.
Abid Syed also owns Fuel On and Fuel Up gas stations in Drums, Nesquehoning, Lewisburg and Milton as well as Kati Roll Indian Grill in Exton.
Letts Eat adds to an array of other ethnic eateries in downtown Wilkes-Barre, which also include Akeno Sushi, which opened last year in the next-door space formerly occupied by Bonvie's Beefy King: Thai Thai on South Main Street, the Katana in Midtown Village, which has Japanese cuisine; Cafe Toscana, an Italian restaurant on Public Square and El Rincon on North Main Street, which has Mexican cuisine.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighon welcomed the Syeds in their new restaurant in downtown Wilkes-Barre Friday morning.
Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership, said Letts Eat is "an important new addition to the restaurant row that has really emerged in downtown over the last couple years."
Newman presented statistics showing more businesses have opened than closed over the last eight years in the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Improvement District. Last year, 11 businesses opened downtown while seven closed, marking a net gain of four occupied storefronts. Thirty-five more downtown storefronts are occupied today than nine years ago, he said.
"What's incredible is this is occurring in the middle of the worst economic climate in the last 70 years," Newman said. "Businesses are continuing to come into downtown and they are continuing to do so despite the climate."
Letts Eat is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays.
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