Chai Pani co-owner talks about why Asheville, South is home in PBS documentary
ASHEVILLE - Meherwan and Molly Irani were looking for a fun, liberal spot to call home in the mountains. What they didn't expect was how much the city they chose would change them, and how they would change the city and the South at large.
Those topics are explored in a new PBS North Carolina documentary series, "My Home NC," an in-depth look at North Carolina people, culture and food.
In the feature, Meherwan Irani, co-owner of Asheville-founded Chai Pani and a handful of other restaurants in the city and beyond, talks about the new life the recession spurred.
The economic downturn in 2009 forced the now-restauranteur to decide whether he wanted to continue in sales or make his own path.
"God bless Molly, when I asked her what I should do, she looked at me and said, 'If there's ever a time do something completely unexpected, to do something completely different, this would be it,'" Irani recalled in the documentary.
That's how Chai Pani, an homage to Indian street food, was born. Asheville was ready: On the restaurant's first day, it sold out of food within hours.
Chai Pani and Irani's other restaurants, including Buxton Hall and Nani's Rotisserie Chicken, remain immensely popular in Asheville.
See Irani talk about living in Asheville, and the South in general, in the video below. See more of your neighbors talking about what makes their state special at www.pbsnc.org/watch/unctv-originals/my-home-nc.
Mackensy Lunsford has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years, and has been a staff writer for the Asheville Citizen Times since 2012. Lunsford is a former professional line cook and one-time restaurant owner.
Reach me: email@example.com.