Cheeni named NC Restaurant of the Year

Eater Carolinas released its 2022 Eater Awards.

Food on a marble countertop.

Try this: ThumsUp Indian cola drink.

Courtesy of @cheeniraleigh

Eater Carolinas released its 2022 Eater Awards earlier this month and Cheeni Indian Food Emporium won NC Restaurant of the Year.

The annual awards are chosen by Eater editors to celebrate the best restaurants, bakeries, pop ups, and stand out food businesses across the country. The chosen eateries have driven conversations within their communities over the past 12 months — and that certainly rings true for Cheeni.

“Winning this award is validation that an untested, risky concept can be recognized and embraced,” owner Preeti Waas said.

The new Raleigh concept, originally called Cheeni Chai + Coffee + Tiffin, was born in the Poyner YMCA, but the business later shifted over to the Hillsborough Street Alexander Family YMCA. After the cafe closed in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Preeti set her sights on a new, larger venue.

In February 2022, Preeti expanded her original approach to a 2,700-sqft space in Falls River Town Center. The new location offers a playful American-adapted Indian food experience with its shopping bazaar and Indian snacks such as filter coffee, masala chai, street-style toast, puffs, and dinner menu. The emporium also features monthly cooking classes, pop-up dinners, and other events like jam tastings.

As for the future of Cheeni, Preeti believes that the concept can be successfully replicated... so stay tuned.

Two cocktails on a silver tray.

Cheeni recently released its first cocktail.

Courtesy of @cheeniraleigh

In the meantime, stop in to try the restaurant’s first cocktail, Jaam aur Jam, which was introduced last week. The drink is refreshing and festive, concocted with Crude “X” Bitters with cardamom and caramelized raisin, Indian tonic, and house-made cranberry chutney.

And don’t miss these six upcoming Cheeni events.

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