The Tibetan/Nepalese restaurant will have an expanded menu and a liquor license.

Momo Ghar co-owner Phuntso Lama (a 2018 Columbus Monthly Tastemaker) will finally get the brick-and-mortar restaurant she’s been planning for years. Later this year, she and her husband, Pramod, expect to fill the space recently vacated by Ba Sho Japanese Restaurant at 2800 Festival Lane in Dublin’s Festival Centre.

Momo Ghar, known for its handmade Nepalese and Tibetan dumplings (aka momos), first opened in 2016 as a small counter inside Saraga International Grocery. Lama’s scratch kitchen soon skyrocketed to popularity when it became a regular stop on Columbus Food Adventures tours and celebrity chef Guy Fieri featured it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. 

In 2018, Lama and her husband opened a second location in the historic North Market. Momo Ghar was set to open its third location in the North Market Bridge Park, but pulled out of the running in July—deciding to focus on opening a stand-alone restaurant, where Lama can recreate the kinds of dishes she makes at home and those from her childhood growing up in a Tibetan household in Nepal.

“I’ve always wanted to open a mostly Tibetan restaurant,” she says, adding that the expanded menu will have some Nepalese dishes and plenty of momos, but also Lama’s spin on Tibetan-style stir fries, noodle dishes and thukpa soup as well as a lamb dish that her grandmother used to make. Lama also plans to have plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. “I don’t put cheese or milk or butter in my food, so it’s vegan-friendly all the time,” Lama says. 

Opening during the pandemic is not ideal, but Lama says she’s “going with now or never.” The restaurant, which has a full liquor license, will offer both carryout and dine-in to start and may add patio seating in the spring when the weather warms up. The new space also offers a private dining room, which Lama expects will get good use this winter. 

Lama is not planning extensive renovations to the former Ba Sho space and expects to open in about two months.