Highland Park, Community

Indian restaurant Indus on its way to downtown Highland Park

Highland Parkers Ajit and Sukhu Kalra are bringing upscale Indian cuisine to their hometown this spring.

The couple’s Indus Progressive Indian Dining, inspired by the ancient flavors and history of the Indus Valley region in northern India, is planning a May opening at 617 Central Ave. in downtown Highland Park.

“Indus will introduce Chicagoland to progressive Indian cuisine that reimagines what modern Indian food should be, with a menu that will appeal to all palates — from Indian food aficionados to the uninitiated,” said Ajit Kalra, a native of New Dehli, in a press release.

Indus will take over the storefront at 617 Central Ave., left vacant in 2023 when Sweet Home Gelato joined forces with Terry’s Toffee around the corner at 1853 Second St.

The release says the restaurant plans to open in May with dinner service and expand with lunch and brunch options at some point over the summer.

Logo for the new Indian restaurant concept from the Kalras. | Image from Indus Facebook page

Indus will be the second Indian concept for Ajit and Sukhu Kalra, who opened and found success with Bhoomi Modern Indian Grill in downtown Chicago in 2021.

According to the release, the Kalras have worked for more than a year to create a menu for Indus that includes classic Indian cooking as well as more unique Indian options, “such as Wagyu steaks adorned with varied Indian herbed compound butters and smoked brisket dry-rubbed with their blend of Indian fresh roasted spices.”

Indus reportedly will also offer a selection of wines and creative cocktails and the release says the pricing “allows the restaurant to be accessible to all.”

Inside, Sukhu Kalra has led the design of the space, which reportedly will feature sprawling murals, hand-crafted vases and table lamps reflective of ancient Indus Valley pottery.

The release says that Indus “is deeply influenced” by Jiggs Kalra, Ajit Kalra’s father who has been called the “czar” of Indian cuisine and who died in 2019. Jiggs Kalra was the first Asian inducted into the International Food and Beverage Gourmet Hall of Fame.

“Indus Progressive Indian Dining will not only offer an immersive experience of Indian food and drink, but an environment of purpose-driven, meaningful and positive impact on the community,” said Sukhu Kalra in the release.

Sukhu Kalra grew up in Chandigarh, India. She launched a food truck business in Chicago in 2012 and reportedly is passionate about social justice and ecological responsibility, setting the table for Indus’ ingredient-driven philosophy, which also drives Bhoomi.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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