Lula Cafe Owner Joins Boundary-Pushing Indian Chefs For New Restaurant

Chicagoans may know chefs Yoshi Yamada and Zeeshan Shah as the dynamic duo behind the unique and modern Indian food served over the years at their Bombay Breakdown pop-up series. The pair have big news: They’re collaborating with Lula Cafe and Marisol chef-owner Jason Hammel on a new Logan Square restaurant. Details are scarce, but the new restaurant’s address is at 3059 W. Diversey Avenue.

Lula Cafe is a member of the Eater Chicago 38. Hammel launched Marisol last year inside the MCA and knows Yamada from his time working at Lula’s kitchen. The trio aren’t spilling details about the restaurant. Through a spokesperson, Hammel confirmed his involvement and described it as “a project with chefs Yoshi Yamada and Zeeshan Shah in conjunction with Jason Hammel.”

Yamada spent a year in Mumbai on a Fulbright Grant to study Indian cooking to learn about the variety of cuisines inside the world’s largest democracy. His R&D was much different than tricking abuelas into stealing their kitchen secrets. Over on the subcontinent, nanis and dadis actually invited him inside their homes to learn.

Shah and Yamada usually hold their pop-ups at the Long Room, the Irving Park craft beer bar where Shah provides food service as the Biscuit Man. They push the boundaries of Indian-American food. One of their items, the achaari pork pao, combines familiar South Asian flavors in sandwich form, something rarely seen in America. While they respect tradition, they’re not beholden to authenticity. That’s why they call themselves “Indian-ish.”

Besides his time cooking up biscuits for breakfast, rice bowls for lunch, and burgers for dinner at the Long Room, Shah worked with Chris Pandel when the chef opened The Bristol in Bucktown. He also worked as chef de cuisine at Old Town Social.

Block Club Chicago noticed Hammel and Yamada’s names on a construction permit and broke the story. That caught all parties off guard, Yamada said. They promise details in the coming months. Stick with Eater Chicago when they’re ready to divulge.

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