Shan shares the story of his family’s original Naan -N- Curry restaurant in Renton and his second location in Issaquah.
In 2005, Shan’s family opened the first location in Renton, which proudly serves authentic Pakistani and Indian cuisine. He would work part-time to support the business from high school through graduate school. Soon after he received his MBA, he decided to open up the second location in Issaquah. “I went to go work in the corporate world, but it just wasn't my cup of tea—I enjoyed the small business environment,” he says.
“It was mainly because my family is very entrepreneurial. Ever since I was a kid, my father was always involved in some type of business, and that always attracted me to being my own boss.”
Naan -N- Curry helped Shan to bridge the gap between the American and Pakistani culture. “As a first-generation Pakistani-American, it was always confusing for us growing up as kids [to know] whether we fell in the American category or whether we fell in the Pakistani category. So, I think my parents had tried their best to give us the best of both worlds, and this kind of allows me to do the same thing,” he shares.
Amidst the uncertainty of COVID-19, his family’s business has learned to adapt to the new regulations in order to keep the restaurants running and continue to serve their community. “I think to be honest everybody's kind of in limbo about how to [support businesses right now]. We’re in a business where we need people to come to the door in order to survive, so we’ve adapted our business to offer curbside pickup and delivery, through various third-party companies,” says Shan.
“But in reality, I think the best way to help our business is if [people] want to order from us or give us support through these channels, that they do it in a way that’s compassionate and thoughtful to their health and to the health of our employees.” This would include following social distancing rules during pick-ups and using a delivery service to stay at home whenever possible.
Although Naan -N- Curry is facing some barriers alongside many of our local businesses, they still strive to show support for the community at this time. Alongside remaining open for their local customers, Naan -N- Curry donates fresh meals to frontline workers at the Swedish Hospital in Issaquah, which Shan donates himself.