If Deepa Shridhar ’09 is anything, she’s determined. That characteristic has landed her and her food truck on the cover of The Austin Chronicle and in the forefront of the supper club scene in Texas’s capital city.
As a chef, Deepa combines flavors from her Indian heritage with those of her Texas home for a unique dining experience. She created regional favorites that diners loved and expected while Puli-Ra, the food truck, was parked at the Texas Cider Keeper just outside of Austin. But, the grind of daily service takes a toll on a creative soul, and Deepa’s soul said move.
Deepa and Puli-Ra have embarked on an “underground supper club,” business model. “The supper club and pop-up restaurant service afford us more control over the food and flavors we create,” she says. “We’re keeping our name, and people will be able to get their favorite staples, such as naan croissants, honeycomb ghee, dirty chai, and white pumpkin pickles. But, we’re taking control of the menu to create what we know will be exciting and new. We’re willing to take that gamble.”
Deepa’s new dream is to blur the line between the vibe in the kitchen and the vibe in the dining room. “Fine dining is generally for a certain audience and doesn’t include most people. We want to provide fine dining for everyone,” she says. “Your cooks are listening to hip-hop in the back of the house so they can make it through 18 hours of work. This new model for Puli Ra will more closely match the back of the house.” In other words, diners can literally expect a different playlist to go with the food truck they will follow anywhere.
You can find Deepa @puli.ra on Instagram.
- South Indian and East Texas Cuisine Come Together at Puli-Ra (The Austin Chronicle)
- Women We Love: Deepa Shridhar (Austin Monthly)