Since 1975, House of India has been open for business, so you might be a bit surprised to see a "Closed" sign taped to the window of the front door.
That's because after 36 years of serving buffet-style Indian and Pakistani cuisine at Douglas Road and Miracle Mile, chef and owner Darshan Singh finally closed up shop due to dwindling business and rent hikes.
The trouble began two years ago when rent began increasing from $7,000 per month to almost $15,000 per month. Because of its prime location near Miracle Mile and because it faces the street, rent became more expensive over the years.
Despite a local following and the fact it's a popular destination for its lunchtime buffet, Singh struggled to make the rent before finally deciding in January to close. "I tried my best for a year, but the economy and business is slow," Singh says. "It's my decision; nobody tells me I have to close. I can't afford rent."
For nearly four decades, Singh built a reputation based on three things: good service, authentic cuisine, and reasonable prices, with a lunch buffet costing a little more than $12. From nan bread to samosas and chana masala, everything was always made fresh.
The lunch buffet was among a handful of places in Miami where vegetarians could pig out. Same with carnivores: House of India had a selection of meats ranging from spiced chicken to goat curry. There are only a handful of Indian restaurants in Miami, and with the closing of House of India, only two buffets remain.
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Singh lives in Fort Lauderdale and is exploring the possibility of opening a restaurant by the same name up there.
"Who knows what will happen," Singh says. "God knows."