Naan Nation

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

The Tikka Shack’s website flashes “seriously good Indian food.”

Owner Parish Patel wholeheartedly backs that, and he says guests at his Desert Ridge restaurant agree.

“We opened on April 14 and it’s been great so far,” Patel says. “I always wanted to have an Indian food restaurant that was modern in its approach. Anybody who walks through the door can understand the menu and be able to order and enjoy the food.”

Patel says Tikka Shack’s food is accessible. The menu features street-food starters ,slow-crafted Indian staples as well as sides, drinks and desserts. Patel wants to convert “naan newbies” to “current connoisseurs.” Potential guests needn’t be nervous about trying Tikka Shack.

“When they see Indian food or Thai food, they say it’s spicy and stay away,” Patel says. “We’re following Indian recipes to the T so it’s accessible to the masses. Even a newbie to Indian food can enjoy tikka and have a good enough flavor that it won’t burn. But they can kick it up a notch. Ninety-nine percent of our clients or guests who come in enjoy the food.”

Among the signature dishes are build-your-own bowls, kabobs and

“We have 15 menu items that can be customized, and you can choose your protein,” Patel says. “Guests can have it exactly how they like it.”

The options include paneer, chicken, lamb, shrimp and vegetable. The restaurant’s namesake, tikka masala, is a house favorite with tomato cream masala, spiced with paprika, coriander and turmeric ($12). Butter masala is another hit. The comfort food is creamy with buttery masala, slowly simmered with onions, garlic and spices ($12).

For starters—or light eaters—are masala fries, kofta tots, samosa chaat, tikka pizza, samosas, paneer and chicken 45. They start at $5.

Southern curry is infused with coconut milk, curry leaves and red chilis; it has an Indian kick, he says. It is $12 as well. The kabob bowl is a departure with two skewers served on basmati rice and a side of mango salad and tikka sauce ($12).

Vegetarian and biryani dishes, as well as naan and desserts, round out the menu.

Headquartered in Dallas, Tikka Shack was founded in 2003 as Masala Wok, which featured an Asian and Indian menu. Tikka Shack followed in 2016. Patel signed a franchise agreement for Arizona and opened Tikka Shack at Desert Ridge, in the space formerly occupied by Paradise Bakery. He moved from Tucson to Chandler to pursue his dream.

Desert Ridge was the perfect location, he says.

“We wanted to bring it to a center that was recognized throughout the Valley,” Patel says. “We’re in an amazing spot. We’re by the splash pad where most of the families hang out in the summer or good weather days.”

Patel’s mission as worked.

“We’ve been getting a lot of feedback,” he says. “They’re telling us the same thing: ‘Thank you for being here. We’ve been looking for something like this in the area for a while.’

“Most of the options are sit-down dining and it’s quite a ways away. We’re glad we chose this location. I think having ethnic food in the center adds value for everybody all around.”

Tikka Shack

Desert Ridge Marketplace, 21001 N. Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix

480-513-7586, tikkashack.com

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