Bombay Club Leaves Square

Harvard Square’s Bombay Club, which has been serving Indian food on JFK St. for 18 years, will move to the South End in early November due to declining sales and a financial dispute with a landlord who has tried to evict Bombay Club in the past.

While restaurant owner Vinod Kapoor has been embroiled in a lawsuit with landlord Raj Dhanda in a dispute over common area maintenance charges since February, sales have dipped approximately 40 percent in the past year, Kapoor said.

Dhanda has planned to evict both Bombay Club and Om Restaurant and Lounge—which is also housed in the Crimson Galleria and filed for bankruptcy this summer—for some time, Grub Street Boston reported in July.

Dhanda told Grub Street Boston, a food and restaurant blog, that both restaurants were in “very serious financial default,” that Bombay Club hadn’t paid rent for “a number of months” and that several of the restaurant’s checks had bounced.

Kapoor said that he has withheld about five to six months’ worth of rent—though not consecutively—in order to try to negotiate a deal with Dhanda outside of court.


According to Kapoor, the rent in Bombay Club’s new space in the South End, roughly $10,000 per month, is one-third of the rent he currently pays for the space in Harvard Square.

Additionally, both Kapoor and Solmon Chowdhury—who owns Om restaurant next door—said that Dhanda has been charging tenants for common building space maintenance at rates that are far above average.

Some professors and students said they regret seeing the Bombay Club go.

Religion professor Diana L. Eck said that when the Faculty Club was closed for renovations a few years ago, “Bombay Club sort of became the Faculty Club.”

Jack Bardy—the owner of the South End restaurant Pho Republique, which will vacate its space for the Bombay Club by November—said that though rents in Harvard Square are particularly high, the sales are no better than “in the rest of the city where the rents are significantly lower.”

Students who said they were fond of Bombay Club admitted they eat there only occasionally.

Danielle J. Lee ’11 said that she ate at the restaurant only once or twice per year—either for friends’ birthdays or to take visiting friends out.

Anjali M. Bhatt ’11, a South Asian Association board member, noted that Bombay Club faces competition from three other Harvard Square Indian restaurants—Tanjore, Cafe of India, and Tamarind Bay.

“The student population is looking for just cheap good food,” said Bhatt.

Kapoor said that the new location would be more casual in order to increase its appeal.

Kapoor, who has been searching for a new restaurant space for the past two years, said that he still hopes to move the restaurant back to Cambridge.

“I’ll be missing this place because the crowd at Harvard is very educated,” said Kapoor, who immigrated to Mass. from New Delhi in 1978 and has been in the restaurant business since 1981. “I think I’ll have to start from scratch, but I’ll make it.”

—Staff writer Bonnie J. Kavoussi can be reached at