Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Take a flavor trip through India with Masala Craft

Masala Craft, run by the Arora family, strives to collaborate with local people in all they do. (WYDaily/Photo by Gabrielle Rente)

JAMES CITY COUNTY — “It’s not just a business, this is something we’re really passionate about,” said Shaveta Arora.

She along with her parents, Avinash and Neeta Arora, are the owners of Williamsburg’s newest restaurant specializing in cuisine from all over India. Masala Craft promises to deliver the finest dishes and plates from all over the country, especially from their native Punjab.

The name Arora has become synonymous with Indian cuisine around the Historic Triangle. According to Shaveta Arora, “If you know Indian food in the area, then you know us.” Her father, Avinash Arora, previously worked in several other restaurants around the area. Now the Aroras are taking a leap in opening up their own business.

And what makes this family so good at what they do?

“All the recipes we use are ones my father took from his mother and grandmother, so you know you’re getting the real thing,” Shaveta Arora said. According to her, Avinash Arora even has a special garam masala spice recipe that only he knows.

While Mr. Arora is deeply passionate about tradition and sticking to age-old recipes, his daughter is a bit more of an innovator in the kitchen.

“I’m all about how we can take those traditional flavors and add something new,” Shaveta Arora said. “A lot of Indian food is an improvisation from other places.”

She added that her mother helps to balance the family out and make sure work gets done. Shaveta Arora also loves to teach people about Indian dishes and where they come from.

Another sneak peak at Masala Craft. Bright colors and decadent chandeliers are to be found in Masala Craft’s dining room, making for a classy dining experience. (WYDaily/Photo courtesy of Shaveta Arora)

So what’s on the menu?

Of course, Masala Craft will serve chicken tikka masala, but they will also have dishes like sarson ka saag, a mustard greens and spices dish from Punjab, and vindaloo, a curry dish popular in Goa. There will also be vegan and gluten free options featured on the menu.

Arora said she is hoping to include other menu items like turmeric infused gin and The Old Monk, an ice cream infused with Old Monk rum with rum-soaked cherries.

Masala Craft is located at 5223 Monticello Ave, Ste E. Be sure to check out their website in anticipation for a menu and visit their Facebook page for more information.


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