Marin Magazine Interview with Surinder Sroa

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Marin restaurateurs share their unique food heritages — straight from their hometowns to your plate. BY AMY SHERMAN


Marin Magazine features Surinder Sroa marin magazine Marin Magazine Interview with Surinder Sroa Pc0470000Surinder Sroa owns and operates Lotus Cuisine of India and its street-food counterpart Lotus Chaat in San Rafael, as well as Cafe Lotus in Fairfax. While both his son and his nephew play active roles, he credits his wife, Linda, with encouraging him to use top-quality ingredients, make the restaurant as sustainable as possible, and cater to locals with vegan diets, gluten sensitivity and other needs. In 2013, renovations to the original location, opened in 1998, made it the Lotus Cuisine of India Naan marin magazine Marin Magazine Interview with Surinder Sroa Pc0470200first certified green Indian restaurant in Marin.

 A farmer in India, Sroa worked in the grocery business when he came to the United States. As a restaurateur he places the same premium on honesty and strong customer service he observed in his father, who ran a grocery store in rural India: “Karma is going to get me back,” he says.

For Sroa, finding what works has been an evolving process. He uses as many organic ingredients as possible and even worked with a customer to learn how to prepare completely gluten-free food for people with celiac disease. Marin Magazine features Surinder Sroa marin magazine Marin Magazine Interview with Surinder Sroa Marin MagCooks at his restaurants make their own breads and use ghee made from Clover’s organic butter and locally grown Lundberg Family Farms rice; the restaurants also serve organic and sustainable wines. People in Marin “are more educated,” Sroa notes. “They know about food.”

Lotus Cuisine of India Restaurant marin magazine Marin Magazine Interview with Surinder Sroa Pc0470100All three restaurateurs ( including Surinder )are actively involved in the community, donating food to charities and participating in fundraisers. Avatar’s and Lotus both provide large pre-Thanksgiving meals free of charge; at Avatar’s close to 2,000 people were served under a tent in 2016. Lotus has participated in the Sausalito Film Festival and donates to seniors. “Some people leave tips, and we match them and give them to the food bank,” Sroa says.

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Lotus Cuisine of India 704 Fourth Street, San Rafael Cafe Lotus 1912 Sir Francis Drake, Fairfax Lotus Chaat 1559 4th Street, San Rafael Leila by the bay 1991 Railroad Ave, Hercules

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