Interview with Madan Goyal, April 15, 2022

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Interview with Madan Goyal, April 15, 2022


Asian Americans
Cooking, American
Cooking, Indian







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Betsy Brody


Madan Goyal

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5.4 Interview with Madan Goyal, April 15, 2022 2021oh002_di_008 01:03:10 ohdi Digging In di001 How Food, Culture, and Class Shaped Asian Dallas Becoming Texans, Becoming Americans This project is possible thanks to the support of a Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowship. Asian Americans Texas--History Cooking, American Cooking, Indian Madan Goyal Betsy Brody m4a oh_audio_dig_goyal_madan20220415.m4a 1:|14(7)|25(4)|41(8)|51(6)|62(4)|77(4)|88(2)|103(5)|115(1)|125(4)|139(1)|148(12)|159(3)|165(2)|176(8)|185(3)|202(6)|212(7)|223(13)|233(14)|248(6)|260(5)|271(4)|285(5)|306(1)|318(8)|329(12)|343(10)|354(7)|363(8)|374(7)|384(1)|397(3)|407(5)|418(9)|427(15)|438(2)|449(1)|465(14)|480(3)|488(2)|504(4)|516(6)|528(11)|535(13)|547(9)|561(1)|570(4)|581(6)|601(2)|614(12)|623(4)|633(8)|641(2)|655(3)|660(9)|669(11)|676(11)|690(3)|704(2)|714(5)|727(8)|742(9) 0 Aviary audio 3 Introduction Asian Americans ; Cooking, American ; Cooking, Indian ; Texas--History 35 Coming to the United States from India India ; Thapar College ; Utah ; Xerox 226 Indian community in Dallas in 1971/India Association movie nights Dallas ; India Association ; Indian community ; movies ; SMU ; Southern Methodist University 453 Fitting in in Dallas assimilation ; culture ; Dallas ; first generation ; neighborhood ; neighbors ; racism ; Texas 669 Opening India House restaurant in Dallas chefs ; cooks ; entrepreneur ; ethnic food ; family run restaurant ; Hickory House Barbecue ; India House ; Indian food ; Indian restaurants ; labor ; Lufthansa ; naan ; remodel ; SMU ; Souther Methodist University ; tandoors 32.83670088441465, -96.7743036355824 17 1273 Sourcing spices from Indian groceries in New York groceries ; Houston ; India groceries ; local ingredients ; New York ; spices ; suppliers 1402 Permits and liquor sales alcohol ; health department ; health inspection ; Hickory House Barbecue ; liquor ; permits ; Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission 1545 Customers from Southern Methodist University and advertising advertising ; bridge ; curiosity ; customers ; Indian community ; Indian food ; Indian restaurant ; SMU ; Southern Methodist University ; Yellow Pages 1727 Most popular dishes at India House bridge ; competition ; educate ; education ; Indian restaurant ; menu ; shish kebab ; tandoor ; tandoori chicken ; vegetarian 2008 Responsibilities to employees and customers business ; customers ; educate ; education ; entrepreneur ; responsibilities ; responsible 2150 Customer interest in learning how to cook Indian dishes cooking ; educate ; education ; Indian grocery store ; spices 2300 Closing India House due to real estate boom in Dallas expansion ; growth ; landlord ; lease ; real estate ; shutdown 2365 Taste of Dallas and sharing Indian culture through food bridge ; culture ; curiosity ; Dallas Restaurant Association ; Diwali ; ethnic food ; Indian culture ; Indian food ; SMU ; Southern Methodist University ; Taste of Dallas 2588 Serving authentic Indian food authentic ; authenticity ; diverse ; diversity ; Indian food ; Indian restaurant ; North India ; spices 2767 Special events for Diwali, New Year's Eve, and other celebrations celebrations ; Diwali 2812 Introducing the lunch buffet at India House bridge ; buffet ; curiosity ; educate ; education ; India House ; Indian food ; lunch 2951 Changing Hickory House Barbecue to India House entrepreneur ; expansion ; growth ; Hickory House Barbecue ; India House ; landlord ; lease 3028 Reflections on restaurants being manufacturing, retail, and service businesses business ; restaurants ; tandoori chicken 3129 Impact of the airport/Changes in Dallas airport ; business ; curiosity ; India House 3262 Observations about the Asian community in Dallas Asian community ; India Association ; Indian community ; IT ; University of Texas at Dallas 3399 Celebrities at India House celebrities ; culture ; educate ; education ; Indian culture 3581 India House cooks featured at Neiman Marcus Fortnight and Fairmont Hotel India week cooking class ; Fortnight ; hotels ; Maharajah ; Mumtaz ; Neiman Marcus ; Ruben Buster |00:00:03| Brody This is Betsy Brody. Today is April 15th, 2022. I am interviewing for the first time, Mr. Madan Goyal. This interview is taking place in my home office in Richardson, Texas. This interview is possible thanks to the support of a Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowship and as part of the project entitled &quot ; Digging In: How Food, Culture, and Class Shaped the Story of Asian Dallas.&quot ; Hello, Mr. Goyal, thank you for sitting for this interview. Let&#039 ; s just start out and talk about where and when were you born? |00:00:39| Goyal Well, Madan Goyal. I was born in North India, in state of Punjab and in a small town there. |00:00:55| Brody What brought you to Texas? |00:00:57| Goyal Well, after studies in India, I came to U.S. as a student and after finishing my studies, I got jobs in Pennsylvania and in Rochester, New York. And there, I was working for Xerox Corporation. Xerox moved a whole division to Dallas and I was one of the persons in that division. And that&#039 ; s what brought me to Dallas. |00:01:37| Brody Where did you go to school? |00:01:40| Goyal In India? I went to Thapar College, which is an engineering college in Patiala in Punjab state. And from there I came to Utah State University in upstate Utah, and after finishing there, I went to the- my first job was in Pennsylvania. |00:02:03| Brody So Utah was probably quite a difference from India. |00:02:07| Goyal Very much so. Well, anything was different from India, but especially Utah, because as we all know, Utah is predominantly Mormon community, and so most of my friends and classmates and roommates in the dorm were all LDS faith. So which is very different than the mainstream Christianity, but so in that sense, you&#039 ; re right that it was very different. |00:02:46| Brody What was Dallas like when you got here? |00:02:50| Goyal Dallas was nice. We liked it. |00:02:55| Brody What year was that? |00:02:57| Goyal 72. We came here in 1972, and we liked it. I think maybe seventy one. Oh yeah, we came here in 1971 and we liked it. It was more like India and Punjab, weather-wise, so no snows. Even though summers were a little hot, but it wasn&#039 ; t that bad since we could always get inside and almost everything, including the cars, were all air conditioned. So we didn&#039 ; t have any problems with the heat, but we didn&#039 ; t miss the snows of upstate New York. |00:03:45| Brody Were there a lot of Indians here in 1971 when you arrived? |00:03:50| Goyal Well, I wouldn&#039 ; t say a lot, probably less than 100. We pretty much met everybody. There were five or six families came with Xerox. So we already knew them. Then we made friends with the other families who were already here. But I would estimate it was total less than 100 families, from South Asia, including a couple families from Pakistan and the rest from India. |00:04:30| Brody So 1971, well before the internet and everything. How did you find other Indian families back then? |00:04:38| Goyal Well, typically we started from the university. In the SMU or Southern Methodist University. Of course, they had some students and they had some faculty members. That&#039 ; s how we got to find out who else was in town and whether they had any programs or. And then that&#039 ; s when the India Association, which is a nonprofit cultural, historical organization that got established in those early 70s. |00:05:18| Brody Were you active in the India Association? |00:05:21| Goyal Yes. At that time, I was, but later on and of course, as the population grew a lot more leadership came in. |00:05:32| Brody What kind of things did the- not just the India Association- but what sorts of things did, did the Indian community do to socialize and get together during those days in the early 70s? |00:05:46| Goyal The India Association did the movies. That was one of the things. They would bring the movies mostly. Many times we showed the movie- Indian movies at the Southwestern Medical School and one of their auditoriums because there were some doctors also who were Indian doctors who were and they could arrange to use of the auditorium. And then it used to be in the big reels, not digital. So the reels will come in in the mail and then somebody will take it. And we had a projector and that&#039 ; s how we played and watched movies. So it was pretty popular because that essentially was really the only Indian outlet to and with the small community. |00:06:49| Brody Right? Was it usually a full house? |00:06:54| Goyal Well, I think most of the time pretty much everybody in town showed up. |00:07:01| Brody Yeah. Were they current movies that were popular in India or? |00:07:05| Goyal Yes. Indian nation movies which are popular there. These days, you know the Indian movies are released on the same day here as in India. But in those days, the reels, they would be still popular movies, but not the latest ones. |00:07:30| Brody Right. Makes sense. Tell me about your experience...I mean, if it was a small Indian community, obviously you had a lot of contact with people who were already here, other, other communities, native Texans, et cetera. Tell me about your experience, sort of as you got to Dallas fitting in to your neighborhood, workplace, et cetera. |00:07:53| Goyal Well, most of the time you spend is, outside of the office, at home is with the neighbors. So we, of course, when we got our house, built a house, or moved into the house, we met the neighbors. So that was...And since we had the school age kids going to the schools and meeting through the PTA, the other parents, which essentially were from the neighborhood since it was elementary school age kids. So we met the neighbors and other parents that way in the neighborhood. So it was good meeting them and realizing, well, how Texas is different even than New York, where we moved with Xerox. |00:08:49| Brody What were some of the differences that you noticed or that you learned about? |00:08:52| Goyal Well, I think some of the difference was people were a little more open, here, than I thought in New York. You know, more friendly in a sense and more inquisitive because in New York state and in upstate New York, there were a lot of Indians and other ethnic communities. Whereas in Dallas, it was not so much so. Very few, again, very few Indians, or for that matter other cultural families. |00:09:42| Brody What were the types of things that your new friends and neighbors were curious about? |00:09:48| Goyal Oh, everything from dress you wear, to, you know what you eat. So, they were curious and interested in just...Because it&#039 ; s so different than the Texas culture. |00:10:11| Brody Did you try to maintain for your family, for your kids, some of the traditions? |00:10:18| Goyal As much as we could? Yes, because I think first generation Americans, they typically want to keep as much as they can of their own culture and try to pass it on to the next generation. |00:10:38| Brody Sure. Did you encounter any racism or any difficulties like that? |00:10:43| Goyal I wouldn&#039 ; t say I encountered any racism, you know, with the neighbors or work or anywhere else. And I think it was more curious, our interpretation of some things, but not outright racism. |00:11:09| Brody So you were working at Xerox, but I know that you also started a restaurant. Can you tell me about the path that led you to starting the restaurant? |00:11:19| Goyal Well, when we moved here to Dallas, there was no Indian restaurant. The most ethnic restaurants were either Mexican or Chinese, and hardly any other ethnic food was available in the restaurants. So we thought, Well, that, that&#039 ; s who would be...Family-wise or otherwise, I&#039 ; m kind of an entrepreneur. A streak or DNA. And so I thought, &quot ; Well that should be good.&quot ; Dallas is a big city and it&#039 ; s a cosmopolitan and getting to be cosmopolitan. They, so they should have enough market. We didn&#039 ; t do any market study, but well, just gut feeling that should be enough market of people who&#039 ; ll want to try. After all, they like...The Mexican food is so popular, so they might try the Indian food. So that was kind of reasoning and thinking behind it. And then it wasn&#039 ; t really that easy to start an Indian restaurant at that time. |00:12:50| Brody Why is that? |00:12:52| Goyal Well, first there were no Indian cooks or chefs available anywhere. I myself am not a chef, or a cook. And my wife, and she had no desire to be working in the restaurant. And so I had to bring the cooks from India...who came to Dallas. And in those days, since of scarcity of the labor force, meaning availability of Indian cooks, we could get them the residency permit, the cooks who came from India. So I started, I got a restaurant which used to be a barbecue place called Hickory House Barbecue on Mockingbird, and that seemed like a right location to me since it was close to SMU, Southern Methodist University. And I felt that, well, that would be a good location since we could get the students if we needed the staff part time or full time. Plus the SMU faculty and others, they probably traveled and they probably would be interested. And the Park Cities nearby there. So, the location was on Mockingbird near Central Expressway. |00:14:46| Brody Okay. Did you live close to there as well? |00:14:48| Goyal No. I lived in North Dallas near Midway and Forest. |00:14:57| Brody So the no, having no cooks, that was the first challenge. What were some other challenges that you faced in starting the restaurant? |00:15:06| Goyal Well, the others was getting the tandoors. Tandoor is an Indian clay oven which is very typical of Indian food cooking. And so we had to get those by air from the Delhi on Lufthansa. Lufthansa delivered it. They didn&#039 ; t break on, in the way. But then we installed it. So I started, got this barbecue place while we were working on opening the Indian restaurant. So, the barbecue place ran till we got the cooks, we got tandoors, and we shut down the barbecue place and converted it to India House. |00:16:03| Brody Wow. So you started, you came to Texas from India and in your path to starting an Indian restaurant, also started your restaurant career as a barbecue guy? |00:16:15| Goyal Yes. |00:16:16| Brody That&#039 ; s interesting. |00:16:18| Goyal That barbecue place, Hickory House Barbecue. And the cook that was running the barbecue place, we kept him. He learned the Indian cooking from the other two Indian cooks that we brought home in India. So he learned the cooks, and then we had all three of them working there. |00:16:45| Brody That&#039 ; s really...That&#039 ; s really interesting. So in both cases, the finding, the cooks and buying the tandoor from India while you were here, those seem like logistically difficult challenges, what were the steps? How did you go about? |00:17:03| Goyal Well, yes, it was. Then I just contacted the cooks. I called the home town. My parents were still there and others. Told them, and they said, &quot ; Oh yeah, we got very good cooks in town.&quot ; And so we got one of them was from my hometown. The other one was from Delhi and that we knew from talking to some other restaurateurs in New York City. Because New York City had several Indian restaurants talking to them. So we got the same way, talking to them, they said, &quot ; Well, if you really want to do the tandoors, you have to come.&quot ; They put us in touch with some tandoor people in India. I got tandoors from them and then, you know, Lufthansa Air brought it. They did the packing and all that. |00:18:12| Brody And then once it got here, the installation, I&#039 ; m sure that there was nobody in town who had ever installed a tandoor before. How did that go or how did you arrange that? |00:18:22| Goyal Well, I had the both cooks who were here by that time also. They come to Dallas. So in remodeling, we arranged so the cooks decided where and how, and I told them we wanted a window so people could watch the tandoors and your cooking in tandoors and kabobs and kitchen, chicken and all that. So we found the place where we wanted to and then put the glass windows on two sides of that area. And then once they installed the tandoors then around it put in some insulation and break and making the top. So essentially, me and the construction people did it. The cooks guided them that how they wanted. |00:19:28| Brody Was that window a big hit among customers? |00:19:33| Goyal I think so. A lot of people...Since, you know, that was so different, so unique. So a lot of people will go up to the window and watch the cooks, preparing the naans and other tandoor breads, because it&#039 ; s so unique. And the cook takes the dough and slaps it on the side of the tandoor and it cooks and then it picks it up with the fork type of thing. So it was interesting. A lot of people found it very intriguing. |00:20:13| Brody Yeah, there&#039 ; s an article in the Dallas Morning News about the tandoors at your restaurant and exactly that how the naan were prepared and so on. So I think it sounds like it was...It got a lot of attention. So was your family or yourself ever involved in any type of food related business before? |00:20:33| Goyal No. My parents and uncles, aunts, they all been in business, but not the restaurant business as such in India. |00:20:49| Brody Did you have a business partner or anything like that? |00:20:51| Goyal No. Initially I just did my own because it was so different and so new. I didn&#039 ; t even try to get a partner...If I&#039 ; m the one who wants to do it, I should take the responsibility. |00:21:13| Brody So in starting the business and or any business, there is a lot of nuts and bolts things that you have to do. So of course, sourcing things like a tandoor, you went through people and contacts you had in India. How about on this end, were there...How did you get the ingredients? How did you get those types of things? |00:21:33| Goyal Well, that&#039 ; s another... We did not have any source of the spices or the other things that the typical Indian restaurant requires, which is not common for an American kitchen. So I had to get almost all those spices from New York. We&#039 ; ll order them. New York had several stores at that time, even in the 70s, who sold Indian groceries and spices and other Indian items. So we had to get almost all those from there. And later on, a few years later, we could get some from Houston. Some stores opened in Houston. So but initially everything was coming to. |00:22:38| Brody Well, that sounds complicated to gauge how much to buy and, you know, refilling when you run out. |00:22:45| Goyal But thankfully, most of the Indian items, they had a the long life cycle. Like the spices or things like that. So you don&#039 ; t need to worry, too, because the vegetables and the meats and all those we got locally. But the items we were getting from New York, they do not, you know, go bad. They were not the kind which will go, have a short life. |00:23:20| Brody That&#039 ; s, that&#039 ; s lucky. What about permits and things like that? |00:23:24| Goyal Well, it was like any other typical in restaurants, so we had to get the restaurant permit and then the health department to check. So just like every other restaurant, so in that sense, it was no different than running a barbecue place or Mexican restaurant or a Chinese restaurant. |00:23:52| Brody And the space itself, of course, it was the Hickory House Barbecue. Did you own that? Rent that? |00:24:00| Goyal No, we rented the space. It had two dining rooms and one bar area and the kitchen. So the kind of four sections? |00:24:16| Brody Did you serve alcohol? |00:24:18| Goyal Yes. We did. |00:24:19| Brody From the beginning. |00:24:19| Goyal From the beginning, yes. |00:24:21| Brody Well, at that time, what was the process for that in terms of permits and regulations? |00:24:29| Goyal Well, the permit, it was just again the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. You have to submit the application, apply for it and they&#039 ; ll approve it. There&#039 ; s no restrictions on this. You...I mean, I don&#039 ; t know what they check, whether they check your criminal record or whatnot. But you know, we made the application and that was it. |00:24:56| Brody For a time in Dallas, there was, in terms of serving alcohol, a requirement to be a member. Have you know, for patrons to purchase a membership? Was that in effect at that time? |00:25:08| Goyal Well, it was in effect that time. It is still in effect, but it&#039 ; s in what is called the &quot ; dry areas&quot ; where the liquor sales are not permitted. So downtown Dallas area or the Mockingbird Lane area was always where you could serve the drinks. Even Hickory House used to serve the drinks and the restaurants in the neighborhood, they all sold liquor. |00:25:40| Brody So that didn&#039 ; t affect you at all because of your location. So you mentioned that in deciding on that location, you really were thinking that SMU faculty and staff and students themselves might be both patrons and, and maybe employees of the restaurant. Did that, did that pan out? Was that a good plan? |00:26:04| Goyal I think so in many ways. Well, I know the students, many of them work at the India House. Full time or part time, and I&#039 ; m sure a lot of faculty came. You know, I used to be there at the restaurant pretty much all the time. Evenings. And then so I saw a lot of that same effect. |00:26:38| Brody Were you still working at Xerox as well? |00:26:40| Goyal And the first year I was, then I left Xerox and started this full time. Yeah. So while I was working at Xerox, I&#039 ; ll come in the evenings. At dinner time. I won&#039 ; t go there at lunchtime. The restaurant was open both lunch and dinner. |00:27:05| Brody So in terms of your customers, in addition to SMU, the SMU community, who were your customers and how did they find you? |00:27:12| Goyal Well, in those days, finding was...Essentially before the internet era, was either in the Yellow Pages or other more restaurant type of magazines or fliers and all. And that&#039 ; s what I did also. I put in some ads in Yellow Pages of course, and then in various dining publications. |00:27:51| Brody So who were your primary customers, were they primarily Indians or? |00:27:56| Goyal No. Well, the Indian population was so small, even if they each one of them came in once a month, it probably wouldn&#039 ; t be enough. But the population came from almost, I think, every walk of life who were curious, who wanted or who heard about Indian food and wanted to try and saw that, &quot ; Hey, it&#039 ; s now available locally. Let&#039 ; s go try it.&quot ; Or those who have traveled and may have seen it in London or some other place. Indian cuisine. So it was, you know, all various kinds of people that were. |00:28:47| Brody What were your biggest sellers? |00:28:49| Goyal I think, if I can remember correctly, probably, that the tandoori dishes, tandoori chicken or shish kebab. And vegetarians, even though there were very small percentage in those days, now vegetarianism is a lot more popular. But in those days, the vegetarians found it all. This was a nice place to go. They could get a good meal and be vegetarian. |00:29:29| Brody When you created your menu, what were some of your goals in, in sort of deciding which dishes would make it to the menu and which would not? |00:29:41| Goyal Well, it was more of a traditional menu. So there was nothing &quot ; breaking news&quot ; type of dishes that we had. It was not like a &quot ; chef driven.&quot ; It was more like the &quot ; cook driven&quot ; kind of menu. And so we had all the standard dishes, which you expect at a typical Indian restaurant, the tandooris and chicken were. And the vegetables and then all the breads, rice and condiments. So. |00:30:33| Brody So. Since there hadn&#039 ; t been an Indian restaurant in Dallas before and you all were the first, in some ways, you were at the introduction to Indian food for a lot of people. What, what was that experience like and how, you know, how did people react and how did you interact with people when they were unfamiliar with things that were on the menu? |00:30:59| Goyal Well, it was a lot of education for, to the customer. Many customers, and the staff spent a lot of time explaining dishes and what it means. What are the condiments or chutneys and or how the breads made. And then of course, they could see it if they wanted to. And because like you said, yes, it was a new experience for many customers. And so they kind of, I think they pretty well accepted and liked and saw the uniqueness in not only in the presentation, but also in the food and in the taste and all that. |00:31:52| Brody Yeah. I&#039 ; ve been reviewing restaurant reviews from the time period, and there&#039 ; s a consistent mention of the helpful staff and people being helpful in guiding people, customers through the menu and so on. So. Did you have any competition? |00:32:12| Goyal No, not initially the competition was every other restaurant, essentially. Because we did not have a- India House, was the first not only in Dallas or North Texas, but we were the first Indian restaurant in the whole state of Texas. |00:32:33| Brody Really? |00:32:34| Goyal Yeah. Because through these people that we were buying the Indian groceries and condiments in New York and other people. So about six months after we opened, a restaurant opened in Houston. So, and I&#039 ; m sure they probably were getting...So talking to these suppliers, that&#039 ; s all I know. Plus, you know, I visited Houston many times and visited that restaurant when it opened also so. And then when there was nothing in Austin or San Antonio at that time. So with those major four cities... |00:33:29| Brody What were the biggest challenges for you in opening, starting the business and staying in business? |00:33:39| Goyal Starting business, not knowing. You know, before that, I was essentially an employee at Xerox. So employee lifestyle is...our mindset is different than a business owner or an entrepreneur. So that was the first thing to shift that. And then realize that you have a responsibility not only to yourself or your family- as an employee, that&#039 ; s all you really care about. But now you have a responsibility to your employees and even to your customers in a way. So that&#039 ; s how it was different. |00:34:31| Brody So how would you characterize that responsibility? What, what did you feel responsible for to your employees and to your customers? |00:34:40| Goyal Well, to the employees, it was to make sure that they have the resources. They have been explained what is coming, if something is not available that particular day, that they understand. And then if they have any issues with the customer, which you know in real life happens, that they know how to be sure that customer is happy at the same time, the issue is resolved in a peace. So that was to the employees. To the customers, since many of them were new to the cuisine, new to this kind of food, to make sure they understand what it is and why certain things are done the way they are and what they can do, or how to prepare if they&#039 ; re even interested to prepare at home themselves. |00:35:47| Brody Oh, that&#039 ; s a that&#039 ; s a good point. This time period, especially later on, late 70s, early 80s, there was a real growth in interest among people across the country in learning how to cook foods from other cultures and Asian cultures in particular. How did you, you know, you mentioned that educating your customers through your menu was part of it? How did you encourage or cultivate that- cooking? |00:36:20| Goyal That&#039 ; s why...Many times they&#039 ; ll ask, &quot ; Oh, well, what kind of spices? What would I need if I want to make this dish at home? Whatever it could be- a dal or a curry or a chicken dish. So we&#039 ; ll explain it to them that it takes these kind of, you know, spices and then many to say, &quot ; Well, but where can I buy these?&quot ; So again, there was no Indian grocery stores which specialized in Indian foods and condiments and Indian things, so they&#039 ; ll go to the regular grocery store and get some of those things. And if they were really keen on getting, they&#039 ; ll get it from New York or Chicago sometimes, the dishes. |00:37:24| Brody In the life of the restaurant, did it ever get easier to get local, locally sourced ingredients? |00:37:32| Goyal As the time grew, by the time three or four years had passed and the grocery, the Indian grocery store opened in Dallas, and even though they may have been getting from New York, they are not big enough to import themselves directly from India. But then we could source them, support them, and get the spice locally, and pick it up or they will deliver it. Then, having shipped from New York. |00:38:08| Brody So where was that store? |00:38:10| Goyal It was on Preston and LBJ. |00:38:19| Brody Did you ever think about expanding or growing the restaurant? |00:38:23| Goyal No, I never thought...One reason was, you know, the real estate in the late 70s was booming in Dallas, so as soon as our lease expired, the landlord said, &quot ; No, they&#039 ; re not going to renew it.&quot ; And so we essentially shut down after the lease expired. |00:38:52| Brody What year was that? |00:38:53| Goyal I think it was 75 or 76. So and by that time, the another two, three Indian restaurants had opened at that time. |00:39:07| Brody At that point. Did your family work at the restaurant? How active were they in there? |00:39:14| Goyal No, they didn&#039 ; t work at the restaurant at all. |00:39:25| Brody OK, you mentioned that your- even if every Indian person at that time came to the restaurant once a month, that wouldn&#039 ; t be enough to keep the restaurant afloat because the community was so small. Did you feel like your restaurant was a place where people from all different cultures came to learn about and learned about India? |00:39:50| Goyal I think in a way they did. People who were curious, who are a little more cosmopolitan, they definitely came in to explore and learn about the Indian culture and by extension, the Indian food, too. And then we participated in many activities like they used to have international days or if SMU students had some Indian program like Diwali or something, we either provided the food or participated in it to some other ways. So that was, you know, true. |00:40:47| Brody I found an article in which you, that India House participated in the &quot ; Taste of Dallas.&quot ; Were you one of the first, I guess, quote unquote ethnic restaurants represented there? |00:41:03| Goyal I can&#039 ; t remember if we were the only ethnic, but I&#039 ; m sure there were, if you want to consider the Mexican and Chinese, and they definitely must have been there, if you want to call them &quot ; ethnic.&#039 ; |00:41:18| Brody What was that like? What did you serve? Do you remember? |00:41:21| Goyal I don&#039 ; t remember what we served, but it&#039 ; s possibly a could have been chicken or naan or something? |00:41:34| Brody ,How did you get involved with that, do you remember the process? |00:41:39| Goyal I was involved from day one with the Dallas Restaurant Association and through them, I&#039 ; m sure we learned about various other opportunities, whether it&#039 ; s the &quot ; Taste of Dallas&quot ; or International Day Fair or you know, any other opportunities where we could, you know show the Indian food because this, I thought, was excellent way to get people to taste it without being intimidated and coming to a restaurant and thinking, Well, I don&#039 ; t know what it is like. So that&#039 ; s why, you know, I participated as much as possible in various opportunities. |00:42:33| Brody Yeah. In those days, what was the &quot ; Taste of Dallas&quot ; like? Where was it held? What did it feel and look like? |00:42:39| Goyal I think it changed to every year where it was held, either at the City Hall Plaza or at the Market Center on Stemmons Freeway. |00:42:59| Brody Was it like booths? Did you have your own booth? |00:43:01| Goyal Yes, we all the restaurants who were participating will have booths. |00:43:10| Brody So one thing that comes up a lot when we&#039 ; re talking about restaurants that are of a different culture or presenting food from another culture is the question of quote unquote authenticity. So did you feel like what you were trying to do was to serve authentic Indian food? Or, you know, you mentioned earlier that it was kind of the standard Indian restaurant fare? Well, how did you balance that? |00:43:43| Goyal Well, it was absolutely authentic. When I said the &quot ; standard restaurant fare&quot ; you know, I meant that in India, it&#039 ; s so diversified. You know, from South India, you know, dishes to the Bengal dishes and the East India. And so this food was what you might call from North India or the Mughal. And that&#039 ; s what is for the average person outside of India is considered the &quot ; Indian food&quot ; you know, unless they really get into it, then they&#039 ; ll try the other regional dishes. So that&#039 ; s what I meant that we were just concentrating on those dishes cooked in the way they&#039 ; ve been cooked, whether you&#039 ; re in Delhi or Mumbai or anywhere. And so that&#039 ; s, not that it was in any way made to an American taste. |00:45:03| Brody Yeah, that&#039 ; s what the, you know, a thing that I think a lot of restaurant owners have to straddle that, you know, how do you obviously you, you want to sell a lot of things. You want your customers to be happy. And some people have said that they&#039 ; ve used their menu to sort of ease people into learning about, you know, the different, different tastes and different things. Is that something that you thought about much? |00:45:33| Goyal We thought about it, but it really didn&#039 ; t seem like it was a necessity. One, because the food, food and the cuisine that we were serving was more for certain spices rather than being just hot chili hot. And in that sense, people, you know, if they tried, they didn&#039 ; t feel that it was in any way not acceptable to them. |00:46:08| Brody You mentioned the events that SMU students might be having, international events and things like that, did you, at the restaurant, do special things for cultural holidays or other events? |00:46:20| Goyal We did. Many times, we had, we celebrated the tradition of here- the New Year&#039 ; s Eve party special or at Diwali time or other times. Several different functions we had specials. And generally we&#039 ; ll get a good response from those. |00:46:52| Brody You earlier mentioned serving both lunch and dinner, and many of the reviews of India House mentioned the lunch buffet as being, you know, a lot of choices. What do you, what were you... What are your memories of the lunch buffet and the sort of the lunch crowd that you would get there? |00:47:11| Goyal Well, the lunch crowd again came in from close by, you know, a lot of office buildings and SMU is there. And even from downtown Dallas is just on 75, and they could get it. We were very conveniently located. And we started the buffet part essentially so that people would get introduced to the food. So they could come in at lunch and they can pick and choose and try it without having to be concerned, whether they like it or not like it. Plus, they get introduced to the food and then if they felt then, then they would come back in the evening with the family. So that was instead of just having like lunch special place. We thought, &quot ; Well, let&#039 ; s do the buffet, so they can, you know, whatever one price they can take whatever or as much as they like, they can come back if they like more. So that was the idea of the buffet. I think buffets have proven popular with a lot of Indian restaurants, you know, ever since. But I did it because I wanted people to try and be introduced to the food. |00:48:53| Brody It&#039 ; s well-suited for lunch because people can come and go on their own schedule. |00:48:59| Goyal Come and go. Plus they can choose whatever they like. And then if they like something, they can get some more of it. |00:49:11| Brody Was the restaurant always called &quot ; India House&quot ; ? |00:49:14| Goyal Yes. Always. After we opened, we changed the name from it used to be &quot ; Hickory House Barbecue.&quot ; We changed the name from the day we opened to &quot ; India House.&quot ; |00:49:34| Brody And how long did the restaurant stay in business? |00:49:38| Goyal We, I think, closed in 76 and so about five years. |00:49:47| Brody And because of the lease? |00:49:48| Goyal Lease. Yeah. |00:49:50| Brody Did you consider moving to a different location? |00:49:54| Goyal Yes and no. By that time, I&#039 ; ve become a full fledged entrepreneur because I left Xerox after one, about one year, so I was looking at other things all the time. So I got into some other businesses after that. |00:50:13| Brody Still in the food industry? |00:50:17| Goyal Well, a little bit related food and drinks, so I didn&#039 ; t pursue another restaurant. |00:50:28| Brody When you look back at those times, what are some lessons or reflections that that you have? |00:50:35| Goyal Well. I think if you understand your market, and you really want to do it, you know, it may take harder, hard work than if, let&#039 ; s say if you are selling hamburgers, you know, your market is much larger for hamburgers than it is for Indian tandoori chicken. But, so you may have to work harder and educate people, but it definitely can be done. And we enjoyed it. It was good. I mean, it was a lot harder than I would have thought. The restaurant business is one of the few businesses where you have a manufacturing and a retail and a service, everything. You know, if you open a manufacturing, then all you&#039 ; re doing, if you&#039 ; re doing chip manufacturing, that&#039 ; s all you&#039 ; re doing. Whereas in restaurants, you&#039 ; re manufacturing the food in the kitchen and then you have the service, you&#039 ; re also service business, you&#039 ; re also manufacturing business. So in that sense, the restaurant is a multi-faceted business. |00:52:06| Brody Absolutely. How has Dallas changed in all the time that you&#039 ; ve been here? |00:52:13| Goyal It&#039 ; s changed tremendously. It&#039 ; used to be a small town. Now it is really the whole Dallas, what they call the Metroplex is much bigger, much more cosmopolitan. You know, |inaudible| after we opened the India House six months after that, the DFW airport opened and then that we thought was great. We thought, Oh, now people will be traveling in and out and they&#039 ; ll be going to Europe. They&#039 ; ll be going to Asia, Africa and all over and with direct flights from Dallas. I mean, it isn&#039 ; t that they didn&#039 ; t travel before, but it was not as convenient many times they have to either go to New York or through L.A. and change flights. Plus, the business community was expanding and growing and with the airport opening, they both kind of piggyback to each other. Businesses saw, &quot ; Hey, this was a great location for business.&quot ; They could very conveniently do business anywhere in the world from Dallas. So more and more businesses came and so they just piggybacked each other. And then as a result, we, on the sideline, we had the advantage that many people felt, &quot ; Oh, yeah we want to go to India.&quot ; It became one of the choices after they have travelled there. |00:54:16| Brody So people&#039 ; s tastes became more open or more sophisticated? |00:54:20| Goyal Exactly. |00:54:23| Brody Similarly, what are some of your observations about the Asian community in Dallas? You mentioned how small it was when you first arrived, and it&#039 ; s grown quite a bit. What are some of your observations about those changes within those communities? |00:54:40| Goyal I think the community started expanding with the IT, when a lot of IT-related companies either sprung up or moved into Dallas area. They brought in a lot of people who were IT-oriented expertise in the IT field. And so that&#039 ; s what started, and it&#039 ; s still true even in 2022. And, and then, of course, the universities...There are...UTD was a small, at that time. But now it&#039 ; s got a lot of students from India and Asia and the faculty also. So that too. And as the Indian community grew, so did the Indian businesses that cater to them and also the other opportunities that the Indian community got involved in. It became so large that there are not only the whole India Association is there, but there are regional community organizations because again, because there&#039 ; s enough volume of families that they need to have that cultural issues. |00:56:39| Brody When you put yourself back in the time period when the restaurant was open, do you have any... What was your most memorable story from the restaurant? |00:56:58| Goyal I have to think about it for a second. I guess nothing major. But again, just like, you know, I&#039 ; ve made a lot of mistakes when I went to Korean or Vietnamese food. This same kind of thing that somebody taking our chutneys or something, thinking that&#039 ; s the meal and just eating it or drinking it, and then realized, &quot ; Oh no, that was just condiment or this side dish.&quot ; |00:57:48| Brody Right? You go back to that education piece that you were talking about. Yeah. Did you ever have any celebrities or athletes or anybody come through the restaurant? |00:58:03| Goyal Oh, all the time. A lot of times, you know, we didn&#039 ; t keep track of that, because in those days the Beatlemania was there. A lot of people were, you know, oriented and a lot of those people came to the restaurant because they wanted the Indian food when they were coming through town for whatever reason, a concert or otherwise. |00:58:32| Brody Did the Beatles come to the restaurant? |00:58:33| Goyal No, not the Beatles. I mean, that was the period, right? And The Beatles, kind of all the others. So because of them, Indian food and yoga was popular and getting popular each day. So that&#039 ; s why many of them came in and whenever the Indian ambassador or somebody came to town. They, of course, always came to the restaurant or we had the food, you know, catered and we took it if there was a function with the community. |00:59:18| Brody It&#039 ; s great. It sounds like the timing of when you had the restaurant, when you started the restaurant was exactly when there was a really huge growth in interest in Indian culture and Indian food. |00:59:35| Goyal Excellent observation. |00:59:39| Brody Good timing. Good timing. Well, is there anything that I didn&#039 ; t ask you that you&#039 ; d like to share or a story that you&#039 ; d like to include? |00:59:53| Goyal Nothing I can think of...Since we were the only Indian restaurant, many times we got invited to various functions. Our cook would be invited, you know, like, you know. A major hotel downtown, Fairmont. They wanted to have a India Week, so our chef went in and worked with there chef to prepare Indian dishes. Same way Neiman Marcus, when they have, they used to have a &quot ; Fortnight&quot ; various countries and I think one year they did India. So we helped them with Indian various functions they had. |01:00:47| Brody Did you ever do cooking classes? |01:00:51| Goyal No, we never did the cooking classes. You know, the chef didn&#039 ; t feel they were really geared toward teaching. And this Ruben Buster who was the cook at the barbecue place, and I kept him alone. He learned. He was the only one we taught I guess. |01:01:24| Brody Did any of those chefs, after India House closed, go start their own places? |01:01:31| Goyal Not only the cooks did, but even some of the waiters and managers that did. Just so happened a couple of them are in the Dallas area. |01:01:46| Brody Oh, really? Do you know what restaurants? |01:01:49| Goyal Well, one is Mumtaz. Other is Maharajah. And the other is, we went to New Orleans one time when &quot ; Well, let&#039 ; s go try the Indian food.&quot ; We had some American friends with us and behold, the guy who was our manager. He said, &quot ; Oh, Mr. Goyal, what are you doing here? |01:02:16| Brody He started his restaurant. He started an Indian restaurant in New Orleans? |01:02:19| Goyal Right. So that&#039 ; s the same way our other cook that we brought from India. He went to California. He worked at many places there. |01:02:36| Brody That&#039 ; s really interesting. Well, I really appreciated hearing all of your stories and your, your thoughts about your experience running India House. I appreciate you being part of this project and thank you so much. |01:02:49| Goyal Well, thank you. I appreciate all you&#039 ; re doing. Anything that you think of, if you need some more answers, if I can help you have, you know, call me. |01:03:06| Brody Thank you so much. |01:03:09| Goyal Alright. Thank you. 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“Interview with Madan Goyal, April 15, 2022,” Digging In Dallas, accessed July 12, 2024,