Many employees at Technopark seem to prefer eating at small eateries that serve homely food. Pragila is one of the favourites

They might live the high life – swift cars, savvy gadgets and slick attire – but when it comes to one of the basic necessities of life – food – they like to keep it simple and homely! And it's not because choices are limited at Technopark. There are a host of fast food and restaurant chains on campus. However, once it is lunch time, you can see the latest cars and bikes head for homely joints that dot the Kulathur and Kazakuttam areas near Technopark. One such joint on this stretch is Pragila run by septuagenarian M. Viswanathan. A family venture, Pragila is packed to the seams on all days of the week.

Walking into Pragila you would be surprised at its sparse interiors – just a few plastic chairs and wooden tables. But customers don't seem to mind this at all. Their eye is on the ‘sadya' type of cuisine that is served here along with fish preparations. Hot rice, sambar, parippu, avial, thoran, pickle, pachedi, fish curry, kappa and fish fry is served on a plantain leaf. A predictable menu that hardly ever changes, it doesn't seem to deter the crowd from thronging this place.

Vipin Paniker, a software engineer working at Technopark and a regular at Pragila says: “My colleagues and I prefer eating at this restaurant because the service is quick and it's light on the pocket and on the stomach too. ”

The price factor

A hearty meal here costs between Rs. 30 to Rs. 50 per person.

Another factor is health. As Deepak Kumar, corporate communications professional at Technopark, points out: “The food served at Pragila is healthier when compared to those served at fast food joints. It is less oily when compared to fast food.”

Since Technopark is a melting pot of different cultures and states, palettes tend to be as varied too. Take Hritwik Ghosh Roy, a Bengali and web designer who works at Technopark. He says:

“Most of us North Indians are not too fond of coconut oil in dishes. So we either bring food from home or visit the dhabas in and around Technopark.”

The dhabhas are a good option for vegetarians as they serve tall glasses of lassi, buttered aloo parathas, tasty kadai paneer and fluffy kulchas at reasonable rates.

However, it does not mean restaurants and fast food joints inside Technopark are not in business. When asked about competition from small roadside eateries like Pragila, Abraham Chaly, proprietor of Time & Again, a multi-cuisine restaurant at Technopark, says: “What competition? There is space for various kinds of eateries out here. Yes, people are tired of eating out and have become health conscious. But at Time & Again, we do serve thalis that cater to different taste buds.” But low infrastructure cost helps small-scale restaurants break even more quickly. They get a regular stream of clientele walking in at all times thanks to reasonable rates, homely cuisine and quick service.