Welcome to chai pani

22 Battery Park Avenue
Downtown Asheville

(828) 254-4003

M-Th 11:30–3:30 / 5:00-9:30pm
F-Sa 11:30–3:30 / 5:30-10:00pm
Su 12:00–3:30 / 5:00-9:30pm

RESERVATIONS: We now take limited reservations for parties of 8 or more in our newly renovated downstairs space.
Book a table by sending your reservation inquires to reservations@chaipaniasheville.com with at least 24 hours notice.
You’ll receive an email confirmation if we are able to accommodate your request. Space is limited.



Stay tuned!


9/22 (Sun) - Chai Pani Asheville 10th Anniversary Party

9/13 - Brown in the South @ Asheville First Culinary Festival: Chow Chow

8/11 - 13th Annual GRACE Awards Gala - Meherwan Irani a finalist for the Diversity Leadership Award

8/14 - Brown in the South James Beard House Dinner, NYC

7/24 - Give Back Night at Chai Pani for Guardians ad Litem (GAL advocates for safe, permanent homes for abused and neglected children)

7/19 - Give Back Night for Arts for Life

5/3 - 6/2 - Meherwan @ Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

4/25 - Dining Out for Life at Chai Pani for Western NC Aids Project

4/9 - Dine to be Kind for Asheville Humane Society

3/3/2019 - Meherwan Irani cooking at Sunday Super South @ Chelsea Market for James Beard Foundation

3/6/2019 - Charleston Wine + Food Festival

3/24/2019 - Brown in the South - Raleigh, NC

4/9/2019 - Dine To Be Kind benefiting Asheville Humane Society

2/6/2019 - Give Back Night for BeLoved Asheville

11/7/18 - Diwali Celebration at Chai Pani

11/14 - Chai Pani at Haywood Street’s Welcome Table

10/11 - 2018 Southern Foodways Fall Symposium

8/12 - Brown in the South Vol 2 in Nashville

6/20 - Give Back Night at Chai Pani supporting Arts for Life

5/25 - Meherwan Irani speaking at Creative Mornings Asheville 

5/31-6/2 - Chai Pani at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival

4/26 - Dining out for Life - a benefit for the WNC Aids Project

3/20 - Dine to be Kind - a benefit for the Asheville Humane Society

2/2 - 2/22 - Chotta Chai Pani - A Chai Pani Pop-Up at 829 Riverside Drive, Suite 112. 
Open daily from 12-8pm.

2/18 - A Dinner Conversation with John T. Edge celebrating a culinary journey of the South at Buxton Hall's Remingtin Room

SATURDAY, 1/19 - Our Global Table - A Benefit for Pisgah Legal Services 

Chai Pani's own YouTube series is now online! 
Check out all the episodes by clicking here, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch more fun and exciting videos!

Indian street food from four time James Beard nominated chef Meherwan Irani

Chai Pani literally means “tea and water.” It's slang in India for going out for a cup of tea, a tasty bite, a snack, or “a little something.” In Downtown Asheville (and now in Downtown Decatur) it means innovative, fun, affordable and delicious Indian cuisine. We'd go so far as to say it's “mindblasting.”

Some of the best food of any country is its street food, and Chai Pani features chaat - crunchy, spicy, sweet, tangy, brightly flavored Indian street snacks. And because there's nothing more comforting and delicious in any culture than a home cooked meal, Chai Pani also brings you thalis - traditional family meals highlighting India's amazing culinary diversity.

The New York Times was particularly taken by our “fresh, cilantro-strewn takes on Indian street food,” GQ Magazine lauded our “Indian street food with a twang,” and New York Magazine called us "a star in downtown's dining scene.” The Huffington Post had us on their list of "Top 10 Cheap Eats in the US,” and even Fox News.com called us the "hit of their Asheville trip.” (We're just glad we could get them all to agree on one thing)!

We've made it from Bombay to Buncombe, so step off the sidewalk and into the street – Indian Street Food that is. (Couldn't resist!)

From Bombay to Buncombe and Asheville to Atlanta, Chai Pani has extended our love of food, culinary experience, and storytelling to the southeast. The day we opened CHAI PANI ASHEVILLE in 2009 was a testament to will, love and friendship. We ran out of food by midday. As they say, the rest is history ...

In 2012, we opened MG ROAD Bar & Lounge, our stylishly awesome lounge right around the corner from Chai Pani. The team balances technique & tradition with a level of creativity & innovation that’s been written up from Food & Wine Magazine to The Times of India.

We then opened CHAI PANI DECATUR in Decatur, GA in 2013. It has been included in the 'Best Restaurants in Atlanta' list every year it's been open by Atlanta Magazine and Creative Loafing. Pani Puri nights on Fri and Sat are legendary.

Since then, we've added BUXTON HALL BARBECUE, which features wood-smoked, whole-hog barbecue by Chef Elliott Moss in South Slope, Asheville, NC. Low-country curiosities, southern classics, seasonal pies and pastries, local beer, craft cocktails, rotating punches and a daily slushy.

BOTIWALLA is the newest restaurant from Chai Pani and chef Meherwan Irani. Inspired by the tea and kabab houses (known as Irani cafes) of Meherwan's childhood, as well as the grills (sigris) that pop up on the streets of India at night, serving grilled meats and flatbreads to hungry late night commuters, workers and revelers.

SPICEWALLA is our brand new spice company just down the road from Chai Pani in Asheville. The sourcing, selection, and blending process is personally curated by the master of spices himself, Meherwan Irani, along with his culinary team led by chef de cuisine, James Grogan. Spicewalla has been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Star Chefs Magazine, Asheville Citizen Times, Edible Asheville, Southern Living, among others. Spicewalla can be found in the kitchens of award winning chefs throughout the country.



22 Battery Park Avenue
Downtown Asheville
North Carolina 28801

(828) 254-4003


M-Th 11:30–3:30 / 5:00-9:30
F-Sa 11:30–3:30 / 5:30-10:00
Su 12:00–3:30 / 5:00-9:30




48 HOURS - Asheville Guide

THE TRAVEL - The 10 Best Places For Indian Food In The United States



SOUTHERN LVIING - 50 Reasons We Love Summer in the South


FOOD & WINE - Tomatoes & Turmeric


NETWORK - From India to Thailand, a guide to the world’s curries


MATADOR NETWORK - From India to Thailand, a guide to the world’s curries

GARDEN & GUN - What Chefs Can Teach You About Bourbon

TASTE OF THE SOUTH MAGAZINE - Ladies and Gentlemen who are embracing the future and celebrating the past of Southern food


FOOD NEWSFEED - How to Make Street Food Work For Sit-Down

TASTE PODCAST #55- Chef and restaurateur Meherwan Irani is on a mission to change the perception of Indian food in America


ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES - Hungry? Tickets for Chow Chow: An Asheville Culinary Event available now

GARDEN & GUN MAGAZINE - Southern Chefs’ Go-To Road Trip Snacks

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES - Asheville made: 8 local food obsessions in my kitchen right now

FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE - Master Class: Spice Skills


CHARLESTON CITY PAPER - Gorditas and greens punctuate 2019 Charleston Wine + Food finale at the Cigar Factory

NEWS & OBSERVER - Meal celebrates what it means to be a chef of Indian descent in a changing South

NATION’S RESTAURANT NEWS - A deep dive into this year’s James Beard Awards semifinalists


SCHEDULEFLY PODCAST - Chai Pani team visits India

CITIZEN TIMES - Asheville chefs are James Beard Award semifinalists. What does that mean?

SOUTHERN LIVING- These Are the 2019 James Beard Award Semifinalists

ATLANTA MAGAZINE - A Tour of India in Decatur


NATION’S RESTAURANT NEWS - Texture explosion: Puffed pieces add crunch to dishes

AVL TODAY - 10+ Cool Jobs in AVL

JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION - Beyond the Family Meal - Where Katie Button Dines in Asheville

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES - Conosur fires up Peruvian chicken, authentic pan-Latin cuisine


CBS THIS MORNING - The Dish with Chef Meherwan Irani

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES - Asheville chefs (and one food writer) reveal the best thing they ate this year

WUNC’S THE STATE OF THINGS - The Chef Revolutionizing Indian Food In America: Meet Meherwan Irani

MATADOR NETWORK - Why Asheville is the best getaway you can take this winter

CITIZEN TIMES - Finding joy at Pupuseria Patty’s

FOOD & WINE - Katie Button’s Guide to Asheville, North Carolina

HOWSTUFFWORKS PODCAST - Meherwan Irani: Street Food Moves Us

GREENVILLE TODAY - #BucketDish: Uttapam at Chai Pani in Asheville

CITIZEN TIMES - Substance abuse is a complex problem for Asheville’s restaurant industry

LUZETIPS - Travel Guide to Asheville, North Carolina

VEGNEWS - North Carolina is a vegan haven … no, really! Here’s why.

TIME - Meet the 31 People Who Are Changing the South

VEGNEWS - North Carolina is a vegan haven … no, really! Here’s why

DALLAS NEWS - Asheville may be the Santa Fe of the Southeast

NEW YORK TIMES - A Classic Indian Cookbook Returns, This Time for Americans

RESTAURANT HOSPITALITY - Corn: 4 fresh takes on the symbol of summer

CITIZEN TIMES - Eight great salads from Asheville restaurants

THRILLIST - The 23 Best Indian Restaurants In The Country

TRIP EXPERT - Chai Pani Winner of 2018 Experts' Choice Award

CHARLOTTE AGENDA - Where to eat and drink in Asheville

SOUTHERN LIVING The South’s Best Food Cities 2018

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Small bites: Chai Pani reopens with a fresh look

CITIZEN TIMES - Asheville's Chai Pani launches new look, expands menu

ASHVEGAS - Chai Pani, Rezaz restaurants re-open in Asheville after renovations

SOUTHERN LIVING - The 2018 James Beard Award Semifinalists Have Been Announced

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Small Bites: Southern history at Buxton Hall Barbecue

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES - Chai Pani closes Jan. 29 for a monthlong revamp, adds new pop-up

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Chotta Chai Pani pop-up

GARDEN & GUN - The Manual of Southern Know-How: How to Fry Super Crispy Okra

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES - Eat this: Five must-try winter food experiences in Asheville

FOOD & WINE - New Dinner Series Will Explore What It Means to Be 'Brown in the South'


BABES & BEIGNETS - A weekend in Asheville

TRAVELFREAK - 11 Mouthwatering Restaurants in Asheville, NC

SPOONS & WHITBY - "A little something" at Asheville's Chai Pani

BON APPÉTIT MAGAZINE - Indian-Spiced Pork Roast

ONLY IN YOUR STATE - Foodie Day Trip from Charlotte to Asheville

TRAVEL CHANNEL - Insider's Guide to Asheville

ASHVEGAS - Benevolent Spirits Houston

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES - Where to get fried chicken in Asheville

FOOD NETWORK - I Hart Food's Crispy Sweet Potato Fritters

WHERE ATLANTA - 5 Best Weekend Escapes from Atlanta

GRUB STREET - Finding Harmony in the Flavors of India and the American South

ZAGAT - Modern Indian Fare is Thriving in Asheville, North Carolina. Here's Why.

WASHINGTON POST - Avocado toast to fried clams: The best food from a cross-country road trip

ZAGAT - 14 Reasons to Drive to Asheville

WLOS NEWS 13 - Asheville restaurant raises money for Rise as One project

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER - 7 Things You Have to do in Asheville (and 3 you don't)

SPOON UNIVERSITY - 20 Restaurants in Asheville, NC to Add to Your Bucket List

SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS - Canyon Kitchen Additions, Dinner Series

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Soul Shakedown by the River Returns

CITIZEN-TIMES - Short Order: Try this James Beard Celebrity Chef Dinner

GREENVILLE ONLINE - Greenville Food News and Events This Week

CITIZEN-TIMES - Charity Barbecue Festival Features Music, Top Chefs

ASHLEY BROWN WRITING - Highlands Food and Wine Festival Announces 2017 Line-Up!

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Canyon Kitchen Kicks Off 2017 Season with New Dinner Events and Staff, April 27

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Small Bites: The Cantina at Historic Biltmore Village asks for Votes Against Hunger

ASHVEGAS - Asheville Sandwich Report: Döner, Shawarma, Pav, Pork Triple Threat & Fried Chicken on a Bun!

NASHVILLE SCENE - 20 Questions: What the City's Food Pros Really Think

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Small Bites: Buxton's Beach Bash

CITIZEN-TIMES - Eater: Chai Pani one of South's Essential Restaurants

THE CAROLINA EPICUREAN - NOWRUZ: Unity at the Table-a celebratory exploration of diverse culinary traditions

THE HERALD-SUN - Two local restaurants named among Eater’s 38 best Southern restaurants

EATER - The 38 Best Restaurants in the South

TASTE - Appalachian Masala: Cooking at Home with Chai Pani

BON APPÉTIT - How Indian Chefs are Redefining Traditional Indian Dishes

HERITAGE RADIO NETWORK - Episode 53 CHSWFF17: Manet Chauhan and Meherwan Irani

EATER - Watch the First Three Episodes of Chai Pani’s ‘Cutting Chai’ Docuseries

HOTELSFX.COM - 0 Reasons Why You Can’t Wait Any Longer to Visit Asheville

CREATIVE LOAFING - Industry Insiders: Meherwan Irani

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - The Breaking Wave: Is Asheville's Restaurant Market Oversaturated?

THE NEWS & OBSERVER - Upcoming Cooking Classes: Chili, Super Foods, Indian Feast


LOCAL ADVENTURER - 49 Best Places to Eat in Asheville NC


ZAGAT - The 26 Hottest Food Cities of 2016

THRILLIST - Easy 5-Ingredient Appetizers from Chefs

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC - A Food Lover's Guide to Asheville


GARDEN & GUN: Help Eastern North Carolina with Fish Stew

USA TODAY: Tasting Asheville

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Where to Eat Fish Stew to Benefit Hurricane Mathew Recovery Efforts

MOUNTAIN XPRESS: The real meal: Exploring the concept of culinary authenticity

THRILLIST: Small US Cities with World Class Food Scenes

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER: The Best Things to Do in Asheville, NC

ONLY IN YOUR STATE: Top 10 Restaurants in North Carolina

TASTING TABLE: Indian Food is Breaking New Ground

MOUNTAIN XPRESS: Chefs Converge in Asheville for Appalachian Food Salon

EATER: Inside the Breakfast Bowl Series: South India's Upma

OZY: Bring on the New Indian Cuisine

PLOUGH TO PANTRY: Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani and Buxton Hall Barbecue


NY DAILY NEWS: Asheville is Unlike Anywhere Else in the South

ZAGAT: 10 Reasons to Drive to Asheville, NC

ASHVEGAS: Best of Asheville 2015

FORBES: Top 10 Food and Restaurant Trends of 2015

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Asheville– the South's Inside Destination

YAHOO: Top Emerging Foodie Cities in the US

EXPLORE ASHEVILLE: Chef Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani on Storytelling

TRAVEL + LEISURE: How to Spend a Perfect Weekend in Asheville, NC

MEN'S JOURNAL: 17 Corn Recipes for Summer

ATLANTA MAGAZINE: Chai Pani owner to open new restaurant in Atlanta

FOOD AND WINE: Chef Irani shares his recipe for Vindaloo Flank Steak

BON APPÉTIT: Restaurants to visit in Asheville

CITIZEN TIMES: Chef Irani gets James Beard Nomination


GARDEN & GUN: Crispy Okra Fries

JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION: Chef Irani nominated for Best Chef Southeast

USA TODAY: 10 Best: Places for Deep-Fried Food

SERIOUS EATS: Top Notch Indian Street Eats at Chai Pani


COCA COLA JOURNEY: Acclaimed Chefs Dish About the Family Table

THE TIMES OF INDIA: Exporting Indian Flavors

FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE: How to Flavor Cocktails with Indian Spices

FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE: Why Food Lovers are Loving Asheville


FOX NEWS: Chai Pani "the hit of the trip"


KHABAR MAGAZINE: Indian Restaurants - Going for Hip


GQ MAGAZINE: Rad City - Asheville, NC

MOUNTAIN XPRESS: Saag Paneer Recipe

ACTIONFEST: Chai Pani Lights Up the Powder Keg

ITINERANT FOODIES: Asheville All-Stars


NEW YORK TIMES: 36 Hours in Asheville



BOLD LIFE: Street Fare

Check out whats happening @ChaiPani

The best little chaat house this side of the Mississippi

At Chai Pani, we serve a range of traditional Indian Street food, drinks, and thalis, but we also celebrate the innovation and evolution of food. Before the Portuguese brought the chili pepper to Goa in the early 1600’s, India had never tasted the fiery possibilities. Before the Beatles traveled to India, most Americans had never heard a sitar! Chef Meherwan never let his love of traditional Indian food stop him from asking the tough questions. Like, "What happens if I reinvent the traditional Kheema Pav and call it a 'Sloppy Jai'?" or "So Kale grows in the south... what happens if I dip it in an amazing Pakora batter and fry it up?" What happens?? You get yourself a Sloppy Jai and the best (and possibly the first) Kale Pakoras in, dare we say it, THE WORLD. Tough questions like these need to be asked, and by jove, Meherwan is not afraid to ask them. 

O U R    F O O D    P H I L O S O P H Y :

  • We purchase fresh produce daily from local purveyors and source from local farms when possible.

  • We buy free-range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, chicken from Joyce Farms in Winston Salem, NC.

  • Our tilapia comes from South America in accordance with the Monterey Bay Sustainable Seafood Watch Program guidelines.

  • We cook only in pure trans-fat free canola oil or ghee (clarified butter).

  • We use no artificial flavors, coloring or ingredients in anything, ever.

  • We roast and grind our own spice blends, and make all our chutneys and sauces in-house.

  • We don't serve on disposables to reduce waste in landfills.

  • Our to go containers are compostable, eco-friendly & biodegradable.

  • We recycle all paper, cardboard, plastic, glass & metal.

  • We are members of ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) and support and respect our local farmers.

  • We are also members of Explore Asheville, Asheville's official tourism site.


Want to get our most recent news? We post to @chaipani on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram whenever we have exciting news to share about our specials, our amazing staff, work we're doing with and in the community, and more!

Need to get in touch with someone? We're happy to help!


ADDRESS: 22 Battery Park Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

PH: 828-254-4003


RESERVATIONS: We now take limited reservations for parties of 8 or more in our newly renovated downstairs space.
Book a table by sending your reservation inquires to reservations@chaipaniasheville.com with at least 24 hours notice. You’ll receive an email confirmation if we are able to accommodate your request.
Space is limited.




If you want to party like it’s the end of a Bollywood movie then make your next event mindblasting with some affordable and delicious Chai Pani goodness. We can customize a catering order to fit any size and budget, and have venue rental available at our MG Road - our epic Bar & Lounge. For everything from birthday parties and wedding dinners to chef tasting menu dinners and company events, Chai Pani has you covered.** Inquire about a chef’s table!