Back in 1986, Hansa Dhabi and her husband Kishor put their house on the line to open Leeds’s first Gujarati vegetarian restaurant.
Now the couple from Alwoodley are enjoying the taste of success as they mark the restaurant’s 30th birthday, with staff members, television stars and councillors attending a special party last night.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Ugandan-born Hansa, 59, said: “I think the secret to our success is simple – it’s just good, fresh, Gujarati home-cooking.
“We both work extremely hard as well. We’ve been side by side and stuck by each other through thick and thin and worked hard to be successful.
“We wouldn’t have got through it without each other.”
Since setting up the independent eatery on North Street 30 years ago, grandmother-of-three Hansa has won countless awards, written several cookery books and runs her own cookery school.
The couple also organise tours to India for their customers and fundraise for local charities and other good causes such as Saraswati Vidyalaya – a charity that sets up schools in remote parts of India.
Husband Kishor, 64, retired from his job as a lecturer of engineering at Bradford College a few years ago. He said: “We never knew at the beginning that the restaurant would last this long. It’s an amazing feeling. The people of Yorkshire have supported and encouraged us from the start.
“Our customers are such nice people that it doesn’t feel like we’re running a business and that’s what makes the difference – it’s more of a community feel, and it’s our home.
“I’m very proud of Hansa and it’s great to see all the effort we put into it come to fruition.”