| By Kathryn Deen |
Guru Restaurant’s authentic Indian cuisine continues to build quite a fan base.
Tasty, unique selections and friendly service lure many locals back for more.
In fact, it recently won Best Entree in Taste of South Lake 2017, held Nov. 2 at Downtown Clermont’s Waterfront Park.
In case you missed it, Clermont Magazine went live with video coverage of the winners being announced, and many readers responded by expressing their love for Guru.
The hype inspired us to go behind the scenes at the restaurant and give you a closer look.
We toured the kitchen, and sat down with the owner/manager/backbone of the whole operation, Uday Kadam.
“It’s a passion,” he said. “I love making people happy. I give it everything I got.”
Uday enjoys getting to know the regulars and seeing people come in to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
“I come to work happy,” he said.
Guru also caters special events and weddings. Here’s a closer look.
By the time you get through this article, we guarantee you’ll be a Guru “guru!”
Restaurant by the Numbers
Here’s a closer look at Guru through some fun statistics.
Why the Name?
Uday was looking for a short, catchy word for his new restaurant. He wanted a name that was different, yet that people could remember easily.
Uday grew up Hindu and studied under Buddhist monks and Catholic teachers.
“We used to call our masters who teach ‘Guru,'” he recalled.
And so the name Guru perfectly fit Uday’s new restaurant!
10 Facts About the Menu
- The menu contains variations of about five Northern Indian dishes.
- The Mango Lassi is the most popular drink. The thick, sweet shake contains mango, yogurt and sugar.
- Everything on the menu can be ordered from mild to spicy.
- Gulab Jamun is the most popular dessert. You’re best off trying them for yourself, but if we have to take a shot at describing them, they’re somewhat dense cake balls soaked in syrup.
- Their Garlic Naan is a light pita bread that they cook in-house with refined flour and garlic in a special clay oven.
- Their most popular vegetarian dish is Palak Paneer, cubes of homemade cottage cheese cooked with spinach and spices.
- Their most popular meat dish is Chicken Tikka Masala, boneless chicken cooked in the clay oven and dipped in tomato sauce with onion and flavored with herbs.
- All of their entrees are served with basmati rice.
- There’s no dark meat no bones in their meat dishes, which are all lean on fat.
- You can order Indian beer here, too!
Owner’s Claims to Fame
Uday Kadam takes pride in his restaurant.
Plus, he has an extensive food services background.
Uday was born in a small village in Southern India, just south of Bombay, where he dwelt for 20 years. He has lived in Kissimmee since 1989.
He opened his first restaurant, Passage to India, in 1990 on I-drive, and then launched seven more locations in Central Florida, which he had for 24 years.
His claims to fame include catering for celebrities such as The Beach Boys, Paul McCartney and Shaquille O’Neal. How cool?!
Uday also worked for Walt Disney World Resort as manager of shows and food for the Polynesian restaurant for a few years.
Previously, Marriott Hotels employed him as a food and beverage manager in New York City, overseeing operations in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. His job brought him to the United Kingdom and then to New York City.
Talk about a neat first job. Uday’s first experience in restaurants was as a food and beverage trainee in the iconic Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai.
Before that, he first worked in cafes and military canteens as a cook.
Cooking definitely isn’t in his blood. In fact, he has 24 doctors in his family. But medicine just wasn’t for him.
Food is his love. But it’s not above his wife of 12 years, Pam Carver.
She happens to lead her own interesting career as a costume manager for Disney Cruiselines.
But that’s a story for another time…
Kathryn Deen is the founder and editor of Clermont Magazine, a Clermont resident and an award-winning professional journalist.