From special stalls to new menus, they are trying every smart way to woo the rasikas to their food counters, says T.S. Atul Swaminathan

It is that time of the year when Carnatic music aficionados flock to the Sabhas for performances by their favourite singers and dancers. And it is the time when eateries around these Sabhas expect brisk business.

Hotels, restaurants and tea stalls proximate to these sabhas look hopefully to the rasikas who prefer to eat outside rather than at the sabha canteens, which are bound to be crowded.

A good number of them try to be proactive by offering special menus.

Hotel Shelter at Mylapore has, for instance, woos the Rasikas through something it has introduced for this music and dance season: Varieties of Dosas offered as part of the evening menu.

“The new menu offered for this season has elicited a good response. We have a mixed crowd, which includes families and youths. They come and discuss the performances of artistes and upcoming concerts,” says A. Amarjothi, executive, F&B, at the hotel.

Some are more aggressive in wooing the rasikas. Sri Krishna Sweets has put up a special stall at Narada Gana Sabha, as part of the season. A. Rammiah, restaurant manager, Sri Krishna Sweets, says the stall will be kept till January 2. “Business during the music season is good. There is a mixed crowd,” he says.

S. Jayachitra, B. Rajalakshmi, and B. Radha, a trio that runs a tiffin centre opposite a popular Sabha, say the business picks up in the evening due to the music season.

“But the drivers create problems by parking the vehicles near the entrance, which is designated as a no-parking zone. When we ask them to park their vehicles elsewhere, they yell at us and drop big names,” says on of them.

There are other voices with different stories to tell.

C. Jawahar, executive, Food & Beverages, at one of largest vegetarian restaurant chains in the world, says the business is the same as before. “There is a drop in the party bulk booking orders as many people prefer not to celebrate auspicious functions till January 14. Otherwise, we have the usual crowd coming in during the evenings,” he adds.

A. Poornima, a coconut vendor, says the music and dance season has not done much for her.

“Though many attend the music concerts and dance performances in the city, business is dull. As there is a biting chill in the air in the evenings, people prefer hot snacks,” she points out.