For KS Narayanaswamy of Mani’s Lunch Home, coming to the restaurant at Matunga on its last working day, Friday, was tough.
The branch of the restaurant opposite Sri Bhajana Samaj shut down in the afternoon, after its owners were told the building will be pulled down and will be replaced by a high-rise. “The owner of the premises refused to give us an extension till August-end. We were given the notice only two weeks ago,” said a teary-eyed Narayanaswamy, who has been managing the restaurant famous for serving Palakkad-Iyer cuisine since 2002. “We are looking for an alternative place.”
“My father [VS Mani] began the lunch home in 1937 in Sion, after working with various dignitaries at their house kitchens. That was the time when he would go to deliver lunch on his bicycle,” said Narayanaswamy, who was assisted by his brothers S Venkatesh and S Raman.
The two branches in Matunga -- near Ruia College and Sri Bhajana Samaj – started in the early 2000s.
Customers said the quality of food attracted hundreds of people every day. “People stand in long queues to get in, especially on Sundays,” said Seeta Iyer, a media professional from Thane, who has been visiting the place for the past three years.
Some customers like the place for its low-cost meals, while others for its traditional touch. “The savoured items are sevai (Lemon/coconut semiya), kela (banana) bhaji, avial (mixed vegetable curry) and palak sambar (served on Thursdays),” said Vishwanathan KA, a customer since 2002.