Canteens and restaurants run by the Udipi families are popular evening hangouts even today

Top-notch restaurant existed in this port town from the time it came to be known to people outside the State and the oldest coffee club is a mute witness to all the changes.

The Bandar Highway road ends where the oldest coffee club, owned by a famous Udipi family, still exists and is a witness to the gradual maturing of the present flourishing hospitality sector. 

The restaurants and canteens run by Udipi families at the bus terminus area, Collectorate, District Court Complex, and a few posh localities where people from across Krishna district gather are the most sought-after evening hangouts even today. 

“Receiving the customer and maintaining the premises under hygienic conditions are a few aspects in hospitality services that earned us credibility in the town,” said P. Vittaldas Chedaga, youngest among the six sons of P. Majunatha Chedaga. 

In 1919, Machilipatnam landlord Puranam Suryasastri visited Bangalore along with his family and spotted an active server P. Manjunatha, known as Manjappa, in a hotel and offered him an opportunity of being their family’s chef in Machilipatnam.

After Suryasastri passed away, Manjappa, hailing from the then South Canara District (now in Udipi) in Karnataka, had to start his own small hotel in 1929. 

“Thus, our father started the first Udipi hotel, Krishnanda Bhavan, in 1929 in the port town and invited his two brothers too to expand the sector and tap the demand for Udipiwallahs,” Mr. Vittaldas told The Hindu.

In 1951, this family opened a new hotel Indhra Bhavan opposite the bus terminus. Now offering only lodging services, it is being run by Mr. Vittaldas. 

The Udipi families are still engaged in the hospitality sector by running Ganesh Bhavan Coffee Club, Krishna Bhavan Canteen in the court complex, and a canteen at the Collectorate.

The family members used to run hotels and canteens by offering the best services and thus earned a place in the heart of the customers, particularly among senior citizens, who still love to narrate their experience with these Udipi units. 

Despite changes in preferences and tastes of the customers, the name on the display boards of the Udipi hotels is what attracts the customers to them. Serving tea or coffee in a saucer and a glass, in typical Udipi style, disappeared by 1970s.