New Cheeni Indian Food Emporium opens as an all-day cafe

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Cheeni Indian Food Emporium will soon open in North Raleigh’s Falls River Shopping Center. The restaurant has a distinctive style with upcycled and thrift finds put together by owner Preeti Waas.

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Because the world is different these days, Preeti Waas believes it needs a different kind of restaurant.

She’s not calling it a restaurant, actually, it’s an emporium, an all-day space showcasing an ever-changing view into Indian cuisine.

Cheeni Indian Food Emporium will open this month in North Raleigh, a first of its kind food space combining a morning cafe, lunch and dinner spot, teaching kitchen and retail shop featuring high quality Indian spices.

“It’s full of so much, you never know what you’ll find,” Waas said. “I’m very fond of food halls, but this is not that. We’re not several concepts in one. We’re one concept that’s doing a lot. We’re multifaceted.”

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Preeti Waas will soon open her Cheeni Indian Food Emporium in North Raleigh’s Falls River Shopping Center. Juli Leonard [email protected]

The word emporium fit better than restaurant, Waas said, embracing the spectrum of food experiences she plans to pack into Cheeni. The new concept has moved into the former Caretta Coffee & Cafe in the Falls River Shopping at 1141 Falls River Ave. Waas was drawn to the location, she said, as a North Raleigh resident herself, one often struggling to find food she wants to eat.

“If I want good food, other than the American pub, I’m at a loss,” Waas said.

Waas first opened Cheeni as a coffee counter in the lobby of the Fayetteville Street YMCA in downtown Raleigh. It became a destination for chai and tremendous toasts and other baked goods, eventually expanding to the Alexander Family YMCA on Hillsborough Street.

But the pandemic’s impact on downtown Raleigh hit those cafes hard, initially closing the Fayetteville Street location, while the other remained open. Last month, Waas ended Cheeni’s run at the Alexander YMCA as she made the final preparations on the North Raleigh emporium.

Inspired by tiny restaurants in Spain and Europe and India, Waas imagined the new Cheeni to

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Citizens food hall officially opens to the public

After a few delays, the long-awaited Citizens food hall — operated by C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) — opened in the Manhattan West neighborhood of New York City last week. The 40,000-square-foot space holds about a dozen brands and marks the debut of six new fast-casual and fine-dining brands.

“We are thrilled to showcase C3’s portfolio of culinary brands all under one roof,” said C3 CEO Sam Nazarian. “Working with world renowned international talent, Citizens New York will provide a unique dining experience for all, serving as a high-energy destination for food and culture.”

Most of the brands are fast-casual, including Los Angeles-based brands Krispy Rice, Umami Burger, Sam’s Crispy Chicken, Cindy Lou’s Cookies, EllaMai, Plant Nation and Kumi.

Four concepts are being debuted at the food hall: Sa’Moto, a collection of chef Masaharu Morimoto’s favorite Pan-Asian fare; El Pollo Verde, serving rotisserie from chef Dani Garcia; Cicci Di Carne, a deli and butcher shop from chef Dario Cecchini; and Soom Soom Fresh, a family-owned Mediterranean fast-casual spot serving homemade hummus, falafel, shawarma and kebabs.

“Citizens New York will reinvigorate the culinary scene with C3’s newest offerings and also work to bring together shared community based on a love of food,” Nazarian said.

Customers can place orders at the stands directly or through kiosks placed throughout the food hall. Food can be mixed and matched in these orders and paid for in a single transaction. Uber Eats and Postmates, which do delivery for the food hall, cannot mix and match orders at this time.

The point-of-sale technology is run by C3’s proprietary software Go by Citizens app. The app, developed in partnership with technology company Lunchbox, is what allows customers to combine multiple cuisines in one order — though they must walk to each food stall and pick them up separately.

“With Citizens New York, we are turning the typical culinary market on its head, bringing our hospitality point of view to a communal, neighborhood marketplace that enhances and elevates an everyday ritual for workers, tourists, and locals alike,” said David Rockwell, founder and president of the Rockwell Group, which designed

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