Cheetie Kumar to open new Raleigh restaurant Ajja this spring
Acclaimed Raleigh chef Cheetie Kumar's next restaurant will be called Ajja and will open in the coming weeks in Five Points.
Driving the news: The restaurant's name comes from the Urdu word for "come over" and will combine the cooking traditions of the Middle East, Mediterranean and Southwest Asia.
- Kumar is opening the restaurant with partner Paul Siler. Garland veterans Gaëlle Laforest and Lindsay Ogden will also come on board.
Why it matters: Garland was one of the standouts of the Triangle's dining scene, combining Indian and Asian cuisines with a Southern flair in downtown Raleigh.
- Just months before closing Garland, Kumar had been nominated for a James Beard award.
With Ajja, Kumar will trade downtown for the intimate confines of a neighborhood joint.
- Kumar told Axios in December her next move would be to open a restaurant in the same building as Anisette Sweet Shop, at 209 Bickett Blvd.
- The restaurant is small (just 1,800 square feet) but will feature an expansive outdoor patio, fire pit and skyline views.
Details: The menu will be built around herbaceous spices and shareable dishes, including skewered meats and vegetables, according to Kumar and her co-chef Chris Gamble, previously of Garland, Poole'side Pies and the now-closed Night Kitchen.
- Laforest and Ogden will design a global wine list and a cocktail menu meant to play off the flavors from the kitchen. It will include alcohol-free beverages.
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