New restaurant owner has big plans

Houston's new restaurant owner Raj Grewal grew up in Punjab, India, and has years of managerial experience.

Raj and Birpal Grewal are both from Punjab

Raj and Birpal Grewal are both from Punjab

Houston’s new restaurant owner Raj Grewal has years of managerial experience.

Raj grew up in a small town in Punjab, India, and moved to the city of Chandigarh after finishing school.

In Chandigarh he managed an event and wedding hall for two years.

In 2008, he came to Canada where supervised and then managed a Tim Hortons in Maple Ridge, B.C., for three years.

In 2011, Raj went back to India to marry his wife, Birpal.

They then moved to Regina, Saskatchewan, with some of Raj’s friends from the Lower Mainland. Regina was booming at the time, and he and his friends planned to open a business there.

Raj says that didn’t work out. Instead, he managed a Pizza Hut in Regina for two years.

In 2014, Raj decided to take on a business venture of his own.

“I was looking for an excuse to move back to B.C., because I love B.C. … [And] I wanted to own my own business,” he said.

A friend of his, who knew the owner of the Houston Motor Inn, suggested Houston.

“I’m ready to go anywhere if there is any business opportunity,” Raj told his friend.

In March 2014, Raj came to Houston to test the waters. He says he felt a good response from the community.

“I looked at the building, and it was huge, and it’s right on the highway!” Raj said.

“There is no East Indian restaurant between Prince George and Terrace… And I read that this area is booming with the pipeline.”

“[I knew it was] the right opportunity for me.”

Raj and Birpal opened Majestic Restaurant in Houston in February.

He says the community response has been good.

A challenge was getting the restaurant fixed up before opening, because of the shortage of available skilled contractors.

“Other then that, it was good,” Raj said.

“I like the small community, people are really friendly, and I really like it.”

Raj hired two head cooks with Indian background and over 10 years of experience, as well as two other cooks to help.

He says the specialty dishes for Indian cuisine are butter chicken, lamb currie, and seafood glory (a plate with salmon, shrimp, rice and mixed vegetables).

For Canadian cuisine, Chicken a la King is the big hit.

When they first opened, they started at noon, but last week the restaurant extended their hours and added an all-day breakfast menu.

He employs five local, part-time servers.

In the future, Raj wants to install TVs for sports fans, and open the bar.

“I grew up in a small town… and I like this community,” Raj said.

“We plan to stay here if things work out well for us.”