Brother and sister meld Nepalese cooking with friendly service
Brother-and-sister duo Rabina Lockett and Uttam Shrestha work side-by-side at Himalayan Kitchen to introduce Somerville locals to the authentic Nepalese cuisine of their home country. The siblings’ close relationship has helped their business thrive, they say.
“My brother has literally been my best friend, my brother, my family,” Lockett says. “Now, since we’re partners in this business, it’s a really good feeling. I cannot even think about working with anybody else.”
Lockett and Shrestha bought the restaurant four years ago when it was called BBQ International, and kept the name and menu for over a year before transitioning the space into Himalayan Kitchen, with dishes ranging from chicken tikka pizza to traditional Himalayan momo dumplings.
The three owners—the siblings and Rabina’s husband, Jay—each bring something unique to the restaurant, relying on encouragement from one another to experiment with new dishes and business opportunities.
Lockett’s love of food and cooking led the siblings down the path of opening a restaurant, an area in which they could combine their strengths.
“I work mostly on cooking the food, I love to cook,” Lockett says. “When this opportunity struck us, we said ‘OK, why don’t we do it together, because I love to cook and you love business.’ We thought this would be a great start, this would be a good adventure for us.”
“My brother is the person who loves to bring in new ideas,” Lockett adds. “His mind works 24 hours on how to grow the business. All these ideas he brings in, I just support him. I know how my brother is feeling in certain moments, and I can go, without him even explaining to me … and support him.”
Lockett says the team’s focus on providing excellent customer service has attracted local and out-of-state customers alike.
“My husband is like a salesperson, he handles customers,” she says. “He’s dealing with every single customer in the way he wants to be dealt with when he goes to other restaurants.”
The siblings continue to update and improve Himalayan Kitchen with support from loyal customers, embracing how much the restaurant has changed since it first opened.
“At first, it was a little scary, because we didn’t have the whole concept of how it was going to turn out,” Lockett explains. “Getting the support from our customers has been amazing. It is truly an emotional, overwhelming feeling for us. How things have changed up until now has been nothing but positive for us. We have given everything to this place.”
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