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Prior to the introduction of KFC and McDonald’s, Deepak Nirula Popularized fast food. He Passed Away in his 70’s

Before the introduction of KFC and McDonald’s, Deepak Nirula popularized fast food. He passed away in his 70s.

The 12-room Hotel in India was built in 1934 by brothers Lakshmi Chand and Madan Gopal Nirula in Delhi’s Connaught Place. A restaurant and a bar were also present. The Nirula brothers tried their hand at a variety of vocations when they initially arrived in Delhi in 1928.

But they soon found that there weren’t many excellent restaurants in or around the Capital. Even though they had no prior experience in the industry, they eventually opened a family-run hotel. Later, the brothers introduced espresso coffee to the capital of the country when they launched the Indian Coffee Shop on Janpath in the 1940s.

It is not unexpected that the family took the lead in a new revolution—the fast-food revolution—three decades later, in the centre of Delhi. Their sons Lalit and Dipak Nirula founded Nirula’s in 1977.

They created a menu that was unheard of in this region of the world, featuring pizza, footlongs, ice cream, and, of course, hot chocolate fudge. Every Delhiite’s heart, life, and palate have been affected by the location during the length of its 50 years of operation.

As a result, nostalgia erupted on social media on Wednesday after it was announced that Dipak Nirula had passed away at the age of 70. Everyone spoke of the hot chocolate fudge and lime ice as though they had personally experienced them. Deepak Nirula created the renowned Nirula fast food chain in 1977, a few years before Maruti began the vehicle revolution in India in 1983, according to Lloyd Mathias, a former marketing director for HP Asia.

deepak nirula

Born in New Delhi on April 3, 1952, Nirula earned a bachelor of science in hotel administration from Cornell University in 1974. Additionally, “Marquis Who’s Who” has acknowledged him as a notable food service executive.

The company noted in a post honouring Nirula: “Mr Deepak Nirula, a pioneer in fast food, brought cuisines from around the world to India and created the country’s oldest and first fast food brand. He allowed Indians to try a variety of ice cream flavours for the first time. We appreciate you introducing us to pizza, burgers, and ice cream shops, giving HCF the desire to pursue a college education, and making our first date so memorable. The world will miss you, Mr Nirula.

Delhi-born and bred restaurateur Zorawar Kalra currently owns and oversees several eateries throughout the nation, including PaPaYa and Farzi Café. The environment and my time with Mr Dipak Nirula are both amazing memories for me,” Kalra said. In India, Kalra is credited with founding a well-known food company.

He adds that their ice cream, which he describes as the richest ever ice cream, and their hot chocolate fudge, which has been his favourite ever since, still taste the same today.

In actuality, Kalra claims that he approached Dipak Kalra for a mentoring session in 2004 after returning to Delhi after finishing his studies in the US. Dipak Kalra reportedly took him to the Connaught Place location for a leisurely lunch while also giving him a ton of business advice. Kalra also remembers how Nirula’s held its own against the early 2000s invasion of foreign QSR (quick service restaurant) companies.

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After the initial excitement when McDonald’s drew interested customers, Nirula’s was able to retain stability, and it still does today. I remember when the McDonald’s restaurant opened next to Nirula’s in the Basant Lok market.

It was practically the sole fast food restaurant in the city; we knew the menu by heart, according to novelist Rakshanda Jalil, who has lived in Delhi since 1967 and “watched Delhi evolve, its eating habits shift.”

The menu was designed so that it has something for everyone, she continues. Even though Nirula’s also offered mutton chops and pizza in addition to its south Indian counter, you couldn’t purchase a dosa from a McDonald’s. When we were kids reading Archie comics, we also drank a lot of Coke, which we could also afford with our meagre pocket money.

By that time, Nirula’s had already established itself as a CP icon, and the next-door “Potpourri” salad bar had been added. It also had a 21-flavour ice cream parlour and served Western fast cuisines such as burgers, pizza, and submarines.

The fast food industry expanded steadily over the following two decades, and Nirula’s, with its Indianized menu and affordable prices, managed to preserve its competitive edge despite the entry of foreign QSR chains.

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Nirula’s was purchased by Navis Capital Partners in 2006. The first CP restaurant and Potpourri both relocated to K-Block the following year. In addition, Nirula’s ice cream shop in Noida constructed India’s first ice cream museum. Currently, the brand is sold in 85 locations in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Punjab, as well as in Delhi and the National Capital Region.

According to Jalil, they were much ahead of their time and “managed to keep their flavours in a world of diminishing standards. The previous week, she had just placed an order for a hot chocolate fudge from Nirula’s because she was in need of some “soul food.”

Even Kalra had placed an order for Nirula’s mutton sausage pizza two months prior. He claims he orders it and enjoys the toppings even on days when he is on a low-carb diet. Pizza with mutton sausage on it might not be available everywhere. He continues by claiming that their homemade sauces—particularly their mustard sauce—are identical.

Edited by Prakriti Arora

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