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Discover the Fascinating Story Behind Salt and Pepper Grill – DC's Indian Spice Arena!

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

People waiting in line to pick up their lunches outside their favorite food truck.
People wait their turn outside the Salt and Pepper Grill's food truck in Arlington, VA.

Salt and Pepper Grill began in 2011 as a food truck in Arlington, providing delicious food for customers. It began with an idea from Hanif and two of his friends, who wanted to start a food truck. With their passion for cooking and dedication to quality cuisine, the trio transformed their idea into a successful business venture that has served up mouth-watering dishes ever since. From curries and biryani to unique specials, Salt and Pepper Grill has something for everyone and is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

Their commitment to providing delicious traditional Indian dishes with unique flavors and ingredients in a modern setting resonated with customers. As the business continued to grow, the founders decided it was time for them to open their own restaurant. This would enable them to serve even more customers and give them greater freedom over their menu selection and pricing. They opened their first restaurant in 2012 and since then have expanded into multiple locations throughout the northwest DC area.

After the successful launch of their food truck, Hanif and his friends realized the potential for growth in their venture and set out to open a restaurant. Having gained invaluable experience from running the truck, they were ready to invest more resources in creating a larger establishment with greater seating capacity. The team put together a comprehensive business plan and began scouting for an ideal location that would be best suited for their new business. With great enthusiasm and dedication, they eventually found the perfect spot - one where they could expand their menu offerings while building a larger customer base. Now that everything was in place, it was time to move forward with opening the restaurant! With excitement in the air, Hanif and his friends opened up their new restaurant and prepared to serve customers with the same passion and enthusiasm as they had in their food truck.

Current location of Salt and Pepper Grill at 2632 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC 20001
Exterior photo of Salt and Pepper Grill at its current location in Washington, DC

The smell of curry begins to waft through the Shaw/Howard Community

Salt and Pepper Grill has been a proud Shaw/Howard community member for over ten years. Our location on the 2600 block of Georgia Avenue in Washington, DC, next to the Howard Business School, has been an integral part of our success. We are proud to have gained the trust and support of this community since we first opened our doors in January 2012. In that time, we strived to give back with delicious food, excellent service, and a sense of belonging for everyone who walks through our door. We look forward to serving Shaw/Howard with our signature flavor for many more years!

We thank you all for your loyalty and enthusiasm throughout the past decade, and we invite you to continue journeying with us as Salt and Pepper Grill enters its second decade of serving great-tasting food!

We are incredibly grateful for the help from District Bridges. Their technical assistance, management training, and financial assistance played a significant role in helping us reach our goal of setting up Salt and Pepper Grill. We were especially thankful for the support from the community, which helped us get through any obstacles that came along. The people in this vibrant community showed immense dedication to us, and we couldn't have made it here without them. Thanks to them, we managed to successfully set up the restaurant and look forward to serving more customers in the future. We would like to thank District Bridges once again for their invaluable support. It was an integral part of making our dreams come true.

With the generous support of local businesses and members of the community, Salt and Pepper Grill was able to take a leap in its development. Thanks to this backing, we were successful in opening two new takeaway restaurants in quick succession. These additional branches provide customers with an easy way to enjoy our delicious meals without worrying about making reservations or waiting for a table at our primary location. The opening of these two new takeaway branches is set to elevate the business further and provide more customers with the opportunity to savor Salt and Pepper Grill's excellent cooking.

Location of Salt and Pepper Grill II on 3925 14th St NW, Washington DC, 20011
Exterior photo of Salt and Pepper Grill II in 3900 blocks on 14th St in Petworth area, Washinton, DC

Experience the Aromatic Blend of Spices in Petworth Community

The Petworth community has been a strong supporter of the second store in their area, which opened in November 2013. The store, located in the 3900 block of 14th St., has been serving Petworth for over nine years now and continues to be an integral part of the community. Furthermore, Uptown Main Street has also provided generous assistance towards this establishment from day one, indicating how strongly this community backs local businesses. We are grateful for all the support we have received from the Petworth area and hope to continue providing quality service for many years to come.

The third store opened on Georgia Ave in a bid to expand the venture and reach out to more customers. However, it ended up creating difficulties for the joint food venture due to the short time gap between opening stores, leading to its closure just over a year later. After that, the partnership gradually disintegrated as the partners went their separate ways, leaving Hanif by himself in early 2014. Despite this setback, he still remains committed and passionate about his dream of running a successful restaurant business.

The experience was difficult but provided valuable lessons that he continues to apply today – namely being selective with partners, doing extensive research before making any commitments, and understanding the need for patience and perseverance when things don’t always go according to plan.

Never Gave Up: Holding On To Hope In The Face Of Adversity

Despite the difficult circumstances, Hanif never gave up and held on to hope. He used his knowledge of spices, flavors, and recipes to introduce his family to various cuisines, leading to the establishment of Salt and Pepper Grill. Working in restaurants for years and training in five-star hotels in India allowed him to gain a deep understanding of food that has enabled him to create tantalizing dishes for customers. His sons have been associated with this business since it opened more than ten years ago, taking over as managers a few years ago. His dedication to achieving success has paid off immensely and is an example of what can be achieved through perseverance. Hanif's story is inspiring and embodies the true spirit of entrepreneurship.

In Hanif's own words, “No matter how hard life gets, always keep hope alive, and you will reach your goals.” He is an inspiration to us all, and his story proves that anything can be achieved with enough persistence. His passion for food and love for cooking has allowed him to establish a business that has seen great success over the years – a true testament to the power of never giving up on your dreams.

Commitment to Quality: Ensuring the Finest Taste Every Time

With more than 40 years of combined experience, our family has been able to share and expand upon the knowledge of spices and flavors. One of our family members, who worked in restaurants for many years and went on to train at some of India's five-star hotels, initially gained this expertise. With his accumulated knowledge and experience, he provided invaluable training and insights to the rest of the family, allowing us to explore further the various possibilities within this branch of culinary art. As a result, we have developed an appreciation for different spices and flavors from India, enabling us to deliver truly unique experiences with every dish we cook. We are passionate about sharing our love for cooking with others, so customers can be sure they will be in for a gratifying culinary experience every time.

Family members exclusively staff salt and Pepper Grill as cooking staff. The biggest reason for us to be on the team is that preparing flavorful curries requires a keen understanding of the right mix of spices to achieve the perfect balance between flavor and palatability. As such, each dish is prepared with care and patience to ensure that it meets our high-quality standards. The result is an unforgettable culinary experience for all who visit!

At Salt and Pepper Grill, we are proud to be continuing the tradition of authentic Indian cuisine. Our dishes taste just like home-cooked comfort food that will satisfy any craving. We value the time and effort it takes to create flavorful curries and look forward to serving you soon. Hugely experienced and incredibly passionate about every aspect of our work, we strive to ensure that each dish created by us is bursting with flavor and always leaves customers wanting more. We believe that cooking should be an adventure filled with exciting flavors and tantalizing spices from around the world, and our mission is to help make this happen. Here at our family-run business, our goal is simple – to create meals that will leave you smiling.

If you have any story or experience related to us or our curry, then definitely share your thoughts by joining us.

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