Somanna has been catering to street food lovers in Vidyaranyapura for two decades

For someone who has been making pani puri since he was six years old, Somanna is now a master at his craft. The long hours he put in at a chaat stall in Jayanagar 4th Block as a child have certainly stood him in good stead. His own pani puri joint is now the most popular haunt in Vidyaranyapura.

In 1988, Somanna set up his humble chaat cart, with the menu extending to bhel puri, pani puri and sev puri. “I started this business because I was not in a position to apply for a job that would get me monthly wages. I had a family to take care of and the pani puri stall allowed me to make enough for daily sustenance,” he says.

After over two decades of catering to all the street food lovers in the area, his cart has transformed into a small but adequate restaurant.

“On the streets, no matter how old a vendor you are, there’s no guarantee of a permanent place. But now, with the space I’ve got, my livelihood is assured. I have come a long way from making a mere Rs. 15 a month,” he says.

From 7 a.m. to noon, simple breakfast items such as the customary idli, dosa and vada are served. The afternoon lunch menu includes rice with sambar or bisi bele bath, or soft and plump parathas.

But it is in the evenings — from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. — that his business comes alive. His customers make a beeline here in the evenings, when Somanna serves up his chaats. Out come not one but two carts, and he whips up your order in a jiffy.

Wide choice

With over sixteen varieties to choose from, the added advantage now is that the customers can have a leisurely snack while sitting at the tables waiting for their order.

Ask him what he thinks is the specialty of his restaurant, and he says, “It is definitely the sev puri even though it is the second in demand after pani puri.”

Two dedicated decades later, Somanna has more than a handful of faithful customers.

“Whenever I come here, I usually order the masala puri or the dahi puri, which are among my favourites,” says Rachana Deshpande, a regular.


A snack that the crowd relishesApril 21, 2014