eateries at Sainikpuri – The Hindu

Sainikpuri has suddenly acquired a much-needed buzz, with the mushrooming of new brands in eateries

Sainikpuri has suddenly acquired a much-needed buzz, with the mushrooming of new brands in eateries

Does mention of Sainikpuri conjure up images of open roads and residential colonies, with an occasional restaurant? Then, clearly you haven’t been to this part of Secunderabad in a while. Before the lockdown, eating out here was a case of dining at the same places over and over again. Usually at friendly neighbourhood Leo’s, which had its own fleet of delivery staff. Or at hole-in-the-wall shawarma joints, usually run by expat students, which gradually shut down. Cut to 2022. The entire stretch of road from the petrol bunk AS Rao (near the Jyoti Rao Phule statue) to Defence Colony, is choc-a-bloc with restaurants. Faisal Tayabali who is popular as the ‘Euphoria brownies guy’, started as a home baker (seven years ago), went on to establish a popular brownie brand in Hyderabad. He recalls, “during my college days, I used to avoid bringing my car this way because there was no proper road. Yet we never missed an opportunity to spend time at the Fifth Avenue Bakery (FAB); which was the most popular student hang-out in Sainikpuri.” Faisal is delighted with the transformation; it gives him a much-needed push to shake up his menu. “When Coffee Cup was first set up by Varun Sharma in 2009, they were the pioneers of the cafe business in the area. What Varun saw then, others are realising now. This virgin market potential of the area is making brands flock here. Sainikpuri dwellers too were starved for places to dine out. Now there is no stopping anybody.”

Venkat Reddy

Venkat Reddy

Even after over 10 years in the business Venkat Reddy, manager at Coffee Cup says Sainikpuri market is price conscious. “Mindset is changing slowly, but we are still not at par with Jubilee-Banjara rates. Let’s go one-step-at-a-time,” he added.  

Varun Sharma of Coffee Cup welcomes the mushrooming options, stating that it will help everyone in the food business to up their game. Varun however says, “We have mostly cafes; everyone is selling pasta and pizza! We also need places that cater to lovers of Bengali food, Punjabi dishes etc. I do hope some of them are planning to open up here in Sainikpuri.” Varun dubs the growth as a “Tier 2 city growing into Tier 1.” Today the road has more than 15 brands within half a kilometre. This includes the modern Indian restaurant Anna Native, the 10 Downing Street pub and popular cafe chains like Starbucks and Third Wave coffee. There are dessert destinations, including Concu, Olive Mithai, Mahendra Mithaiwala, Dumont and Theobroma. The area also has an exclusive pet-friendly vegan eatery E’woke and a number of chai places to hang out at. This is in addition to other popular hangout spots like Eatalia Dhaba, F3 Bistro, Groove, Wich Way, Ram ki Bandi and The Belgian Waffles. Mohan of e-woke vegan cafe says, “The locals here have always been aware of new trends and various cuisines. It’s just the lack of such places that pushed residents to venture out of this area.” He adds, “Sainikpuri was where I grew up and wanted to do something for our community. When my partners and I invested here, we knew this place would boom.” 

When it comes to footfall, all eateries say they are doing good on weekends, on other days orders through various food delivery platforms keep the kitchen busy. 

Abdul Kareem

Abdul Kareem

A lot more openings are expected in the coming months. According to industry gossip, Sainikpuri might even see a couple of breweries and a nightclub coming up. Why Sainikpuri? Mohammed Abdul Kareen founder of Anna Native, which started operations immediately after lockdown restrictions were eased says, at the beginning of 2021, the commercials matched his budget. “My market surveys indicated two growth potential areas-Kompally and Sainikpuri. The scene at Sainikpuri was mostly dominated by the cafe genre. So I felt it was the best time and place to open up a casual family dining restaurant that offered Indian food with a twist — we serve regional fusion food.”

Hemanth Gehlot, senior managing director at Mahendra Mithaiwala says he chose to open the second outlet at Sainikpuri (the first was in Manikonda) after checking 87 properties across Hyderabad and Secunderabad. “I liked the fact that there are no high rises giving the place a homely feeling. As a sweet shop and chaat brand, we want people to enjoy our food at leisure and that’s exactly the feeling that I got here. Secunderabad is developing vigorously and this area has a lot of growth potential.”

Faisal Tayabali

Faisal Tayabali

The sudden change in the food demographic has put Sainikpuri on the dine-out and hangout map for people living in AS Rao Nagar, Malkajgiri, Safilguda, Alwal, Bowenpally, Moulali and even the more distant Marredpally. With this there is a visible hike in real estate prices and rents for commercial spaces. Kareen says in less than a year rents have scaled up 40%. “At the moment rents for commercial spaces in Sainikpuri are on par with the rest of commercially viable places in Secunderabad. Prior to the lockdown Sainikpuri was 25% cheaper with the rest of Secunderabad.”

Mango delight

Mango delight

The sudden change in the food demographic has put Sainikpuri on the dine-out and hangout map for people living in AS Rao Nagar, Malkajgiri, Safilguda, Alwal, Bowenpally, Moulali and even the more distant Marredpally.

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