Published: November 9, 2016
After growing up on the west coast of India, Marshall Miranda—owner of Bombay Clay Oven—understands how food brings people together. Here, he shares tips on the best seats and plates to request at his restaurant, and the role Bombay Clay Oven played in shaping the youngest generation of his family.
Your restaurant has been in Cherry Creek North since 1997. What has kept you here for so long?
Well, they say restaurants derive 70% of their revenue within a 3-mile radius of their location. We have been very lucky in that 75-80% of our business is from repeat, loyal customers. Ever since we first opened, our Cherry Creek North neighbors and residents are what have kept us going and made us a success. We work hard to keep them coming back with our focus on the quality of food, great service and attention to detail.
Unlike Chinese food, you believe many Americans seem intimidated by Indian cuisine. What would you suggest a newcomer order off your menu at Bombay Clay Oven?
Our hospitality makes up for the intimidating menu. For a newcomer, I would first have them describe their food preferences and then we can take it from there. Our menu encompasses a whole gamut of flavors, and with our custom-made kitchen, we can tailor dishes to appeal to any palate. From mellow curries to tangy, melt in your mouth tandoori meats, there are many great options for a delicious meal and we can help navigate the menu so you make the right choice.
What is the most popular item on your menu?
It’s a toss-up. Our chicken tikka masala is our all-time bestseller entrée, but our appetizer– fresh Naan bread with trio of sauces—seems to have gained universal appeal. The chicken tikka masala has been a customer favorite since we first opened. It’s an entrée that combines the tangy flavor of tandoori chicken in a smooth creamy sauce enhanced by the slightly sweet and nutty flavor of fenugreek. Our street food appetizers are fast becoming customer favorites as well, particularly the goat cheese canapes with mango chutney and Dahi Puri, which are savory pastry shells stuffed with rice puffs garnished with a tamarind and yogurt sauce.
In addition to traditional tables and chairs, you also have some “traditional” seating options in your restaurant. Tell us more...
We wanted to create an authentic dining experience – hence the “divan” seating concept where you can take your shoes off and lounge in a private booth amongst cushions like a maharaja. It’s hugely popular with couples. You can create an intimate atmosphere by pulling the translucent drapes closed, which is why we sell out on Valentines Day every year. It’s also great for families since it gives kids more space and freedom to move around.
A lot of new development is taking place around you, and you also have plans to give your restaurant a facelift?
There are three large, new developments within a block of us and another broke ground last week. I have been working with my wife—who is an architect—so that we can evolve with the changing landscape of Cherry Creek North. We have our own niche here. We are an independent, family-owned, ethnic restaurant. We want to showcase that we are a unique dining experience in a chic Eastern ambience, so we’ll be creating an indoor-outdoor space with curb appeal, refreshed décor and updating our branding and signage.
Your two youngest children spent a lot of time in your restaurants as they were growing up. How would you say this impacted them?
We live and work in this neighborhood. My children went to the local elementary school, Bromwell Elementary. Many of our friends and customers are families that we have known for years, including classmates of my children. It has been great to be part of this community that gathers around the food and hospitality that we offer, and my kids are learning firsthand how business is built on relationships. They’ve also learned a lot about customer service, treating everybody with respect and attention to detail…and that can be difficult to teach in a classroom. And, of course, the connection to their culture through food is a lesson that is very meaningful. A family-owned business—especially a restaurant—is not an easy endeavor, but it’s fun because you are in it together.