Opening day at Little Haveli

Rina Harchind serves a lunch of chicken tikka masala during the lunch hour, opening day of Little Haveli Indian Restaurant on North Main Street in Rutland.

Rutland’s restaurant scene just got a little spicier.

The smells that hit customers walking into Little Haveli, the Indian restaurant and grocery that opened last Tuesday on North Main Street, are a signal that this is something different from the rest of the take-out available in the city. Owner Rina Harchind said that shouldn’t be intimidating, though.

“Everything is mild to medium,” she assured a customer arriving for a late lunch.

The Harchind’s family served Indian take-out from their West Street gas station for about a decade before “labor issues” put an end to that part of the business in 2015. They didn’t stay away from cooking for long. Harchind started serving food at the winter farmers’ market in 2017 and announced plans for the restaurant last February.

At the time, she said she hoped to be open in the summer, but work on the building, which had long stood vacant and had most recently been a bank, took longer than she expected.

“My husband, he pretty much did all the work,” she said. “I think it was worth it right now. I’m excited and nervous, both.”

The menu is familiar to anyone who got take-out from the old gas station — chicken or lamb curry, vindaloo and biryani, a variety of vegetarian dishes, samosas, naan and mango lassis.

“I added at the market the pakoras and the mutter mushroom,” she said. “Those were things people really liked. ... Right now, people are more aware of the vegetarian options. They really want vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free.”

Though anticipating mostly take-out business, the building includes a small seating area. There’s also a wine shelf and a cooler with beer and soda. The grocery part of the business includes bags of chickpea flour — used to make the fritter-batter that gets fried to make pakoras and a flour substitute for those avoiding gluten — lentils, spices and chutneys.

“It’s pretty much the spices I use for my food,” she said. “We have everything you need here to do what I do.”

Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, with a lunch buffet available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

gordon.dritschilo @rutlandherald.com

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