Jewel of India relocates and reopens for takeout on July 15

by Emily Lu | 7/10/20 2:20am

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by Michael Lin / The Dartmouth Senior Staff

Though Jewel of India was unable to renew its original lease with the College, the Hanover restaurant has relocated to the property previously occupied by Noodle Station and The Swirl & Pearl at 11 Lebanon St. Jewel of India will re-open for takeout orders on July 15. 

Jewel of India first opened in 1992 at 27 Lebanon St. and offers traditional North Indian cuisine to the Upper Valley community. Hanover town manager Julia Griffin said that the building at this location has needed major renovations for years, and the College — the owner of the property since 2002 — decided to demolish it, given the age and condition of the building.

Jewel of India’s lease with the College ended on June 30, and the restaurant’s co-owner Surjit Kaur said the restaurant was able to sign for a five-year lease at the new location closer to Main St. on June 15. The new property will allow for larger kitchen space and dining areas. 

“From 28 years of experience we know that it’s a very nice community and everyone's happy that we were able to get the new location, otherwise there’s no Indian food left [in Hanover],” Kaur said. 

After reading about Jewel of India’s lease situation in February, Sammy Chu, who co-owns both Noodle Station and The Swirl & Pearl with her husband, said they decided to reach out to see if Kaur was interested in their location. Chu said that she and her husband have three young children and were considering leaving the restaurant industry last fall. 

Chu said that finding another tenant for the property was ideal — especially to help a local family business.

“My father has owned China Station in Lebanon for 30 years, and Jewel of India has been in Hanover for about 30 years,” Chu said. “I knew how it can be challenging for small immigrant family businesses to catch a good break.”

Citing the recent departures of other Hanover staples such as Morano Gelato, Leeza Petrov ’22 said that she was excited that Jewel of India was able to find another location in town, as “it’s like a good treat … to have something different from [Dartmouth Dining Services].”

“I'm super happy we've managed to keep one of my favorite restaurants as an option,” Petrov said. “It is a college town — I think most students do recognize that we make up a big portion of what keeps the town running — so it’s nice to see that even with COVID and the general downturn of the economy we’re still supporting local businesses.”

Kaur said that the menu offerings will not change from the prior location. Kaur added that Jewel of India will receive takeout orders as soon as they re-open, but it will take a couple weeks to open their patio for outdoor seating and eventually allow dining indoors. 

Currently, according to Griffin, other restaurants in Hanover have embraced outdoor dining and are also able to seat indoor patrons at a reduced capacity.

“The restaurant scene is really picking up and the game-changer was allowing outdoor dining,” Griffin said. “A lot of people would rather be eating outdoors right now because the weather has been nice [and] I think they just feel a little safer in terms of COVID exposure.”

While the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services found health code violations from Jewel of India during a routine check-up in May 2018, Griffin said she is “far less concerned now,” as their new building is in “much better condition.” There were no violations found in a follow-up inspection in June 2018. 

“The real challenge they faced in the previous location was that the building was old,” Griffin said. “They had very limited kitchen space, they were using the basement cellar — which was not in good shape — for food storage and canned goods.”

The new building was renovated in the spring of 2012, according to Chu. 

As for Jewel of India’s previous building, Griffin said that the College has funds budgeted for its removal and may begin the project later this summer. Because the building was constructed in 1910, she added that the College will have to start with asbestos abatement, which is “really typical for old buildings.” Griffin also said that short-term options for the property include a park with outdoor seating or additional parking spaces. 

“The whole block has the potential for being heavily redeveloped at some point in the future,” Griffin said. “But I suggested that maybe a little pocket park along the edges with some benches and landscaping would just be a nice sort of interim measure.”