Bay Area/ Oakland/ Food & Drinks
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Published on April 17, 2024
Berkeley's New 'Pochys' Delights With Authentic South Indian Street FoodSource: Pochys

Over in Berkeley, a fast-casual joint named Pochys is whipping up authentic South Indian street food, and locals can't seem to get enough. Tucked into the former Lulu's spot in the Gilman District, Pochys is the brainchild of Aravind Pochiraju, a first-time restaurateur with deep roots in Indian cuisine. With a desire to fill a void he's felt since immigrating 23 years ago, Pochiraju has crafted a menu that's a love letter to the flavors of Bangalore, Mumbai, and Tenali, his hometown.

His offerings, as reported by Eater San Francisco, concentrate on 'rolls' – think wraps – with a variety of fillings inspired by street food staples. The butter masala roll echoes the savory taste found on the streets of Bangalore with a hearty mix of onions, tomato, and butter, and it can be stuffed with egg, chicken, or paneer. Meanwhile, the Tenali kura wraps incorporate an onion base with a similar choice of filling, and for the fans of Indo-Chinese cuisine, the Manchurian roll dishes out crispy, battered cabbage tossed in a zingy garlic-ginger sauce.

But the story of Pochys is more than just a menu; it's the narrative of Pochiraju's culinary journey. As noted by The Oaklandside, Pochiraju, who cut his teeth cooking at home out of necessity, turned to his mother's traditional recipes—the same that would regale guests by the hundreds at their village church gatherings. In his quest for perfection, he has tinkered with these dishes, sourcing ingredients from across the Bay to recreate the tastes of his memories. Without formal chef training, Pochiraju’s kitchen experiments have formed the backbone of Pochys’ cherished offerings.

Serving up more than wraps, customers can also opt for bowls, accompanied by bagar rice or fried rice and a couple of pieces of roti. As for quenching your thirst, Pochys shelters a selection of beverages from classic lime juice drinks to creamy mango milkshakes. Showcasing an entrepreneurial spirit, Pochiraju, according to Eater San Francisco, has plans to expand his fledgling brand, banking on the same success that turned Chipotle into a household name. Already, he's got two additional East Bay locations in the pipeline, eyeing a total of 20 outposts within the next half-decade.

Pochys’ patriotic cuisine, an homage to Pochiraju's roots, is currently available for takeout, while a dine-in option is said to open soon. So, if you’re wandering around Berkeley with a hankering for something new, try Pochys at 1019 Camelia Street, open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.