Niagara Gazette

Columns

May 8, 2013

DELUCA: Zaika's blooms as downtown begins its blossom

Niagara Gazette — Mandy is dark-haired and vivacious, a typical young American mom, who loves the city she grew up in and wants to help bring it back to life. 

I walk around the corner to her restaurant on Third Street at least once a month and the crowds I find there, happily enjoying themselves, brighten my day on a variety of levels.

First, the food at Zaika’s is delicious. Chicken legs dusted with garlic, chili powder and a few other fragrant spices, cooked in a special oven to make them juicy and tender; with fresh-made bread just out of the oven, pillowy soft yet chewy and perfect for dipping in some of the colorful gravy-based dishes on the buffet in dishes rich with onions, peas and potatoes.  

Mandy Prabhdeep, a 2001 Niagara Falls High School graduate, along with her husband and father, owns Zaika’s on Third Street. If you’ve seen it lately, you may have noticed it was updated last year, with large, black-famed windows, a new modern facade and an outdoor seating perked up by black wrought iron tables and chairs and bright red umbrellas. 

I was grabbing some takeout for lunch there the other day and a customer walked up to Mandy and said “Best I ever had.”  

Mandy Prabhdeep tells me that’s because they use only fresh food. And they replace the items on the buffet often so people aren’t eating food that’s been sitting for hours. I usually order the buffet because it’s fast and I know it’s fresh as I stand there I’ve watched them freshen it. 

I love Indian food. A couple years ago I made it a point to eat at nearly all the Indian restaurants in the city, so I have several favorites, but this places delights me for its three-fold success.

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