Rollz Rice Indian Kitchen Offers Diners Customized Options
Complex Indian flavors are served up at this fast-casual restaurant in Lewis Center.
“Goat and potato, right?”
As soon as I walk into Rollz Rice Indian Kitchen, Kailash and Seema Chughwani, owners of the fast-casual Indian eatery, greet me with grins and, sometimes, a sample of a new dish they’re working on. To say these restaurateurs are invested in their community is an understatement. Seema can recite the favorite dishes of her regulars, and both owners constantly have their ears to the ground for suggestions that often make their way onto the menu. Kailash laughs, “There have been over 600 adaptations to our menu.” In this way, food becomes dialogue at Rollz Rice—and, more than that, connection to community.
The concept of Rollz Rice is special: Indian food, served not buffet- or family-style, but in individual, customizable portions, similar to a Chipotle or a Bibibop. At Rollz Rice, you can have your meal as a bowl, wrap or salad. Just choose your base, then add the proteins, fresh toppings and one of seven sauces. My go-to order, as mentioned, is the cilantro rice bowl with meltingly tender goat and flavorful potato, topped with avocado cilantro sauce. There are, literally, hundreds of ways to customize your order.
The seed for this concept began years ago, while Kailash was working in a corporate office. His co-workers expressed curiosity about his homemade Indian lunches, and he offered them tastes of his dishes. Soon, the company asked the Chughwanis to cater corporate events. The catering gig expanded into a full-fledged restaurant idea while Kailash and Seema watched their children eating dinner. They thought, “Why not make these flavors we love customizable to all palates?”
In 2018, Rollz Rice came to Lewis Center, quickly gaining a following through enthusiastic word of mouth. While the rice bowls are immensely popular, with their heaping of pillowy, flavorful rice topped with tender goat, chicken, potatoes and more, the dosa wraps are the ideal handheld meal. The wraps have a tangy flavor from the batter that crisps up beautifully and marries with the rich flavors of the sauces. If you like spicy food, you can add as much heat as you want; but if you prefer a milder dish, there are plenty of options. Seema has also been known to go back into the kitchen and whip something up especially for customers.
You’ll miss out if you don’t also take a look at the sides and desserts. The samosas are crispy and full of savory flavors (you can pick from a potato- or chickpea-based filling), while the masala garlic boneless wings offer a perfect amount of kick. And on a chilly day, or if you’re feeling under the weather, nothing is better than a bowl of the chicken lentil soup, which has a velvety texture that plays well with the warmth from the spices.
Finally, those with a sweet tooth will love the creamy, fresh mango lassis, or kulfis in three fragrant flavors (rose, almond and pistachio).
What’s next for Rollz Rice and its owners? Seema and Kailash want to take this concept in two directions: a quick-service, campus-friendly eatery as well as a sit-down restaurant where families can linger over their dishes. But don’t worry—Rollz Rice isn’t going anywhere. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
724 Polaris Parkway, Lewis Center, 614-505-3317
This story is from the July 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.