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October 14, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Shanik opening takeout market — and taking reservations

File photo of Meeru Dhalwala and diners at Shanik by Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times

File photo of Meeru Dhalwala and diners at Shanik by Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times

Shanik is becoming both a little more and a little less like Vij’s, its sister restaurant in Vancouver.

On Monday, Oct. 14, Shanik Market will open next to the South Lake Union restaurant, offering packaged foods like those at Rangoli next to Vij’s. The market will have cases of both packaged fresh and frozen meals to go, including the same curries and chutneys that are sold at Rangoli. There will also be a chalkboard menu of fresh-made dishes that can be packaged to go within a few minutes, plus retail spices and wine and the restaurant’s signature chai.

In the other change, Shanik will now take reservations. A no-reservations policy has been set in stone at Vij’s and Rangoli, with lines down the block at opening time at Vij’s to secure a seat. When Shanik opened, co-owner Meeru Dhalwala said the owners appreciated “the personality and ambience and what it means to have a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations, where everyone is equal.” But Shanik’s location proved too different, they said. While the Vancouver restaurants are in areas with heavy foot traffic, they said customers considered Shanik’s South Lake Union home as a destination, and didn’t want to fight traffic to get there without a guaranteed seat. (I assume the Amazon and other SLU foot traffic wasn’t enough.) Half the dining room will still be reserved for walk-ins.

Here’s our review of the restaurant from earlier this year.

Another change as the restaurant settles in: Dhalwala and co-owner Oguz Istif plan to host benefit dinners every two months or so. The first one, scheduled for Nov. 17 and already sold out, will be a 5-course meal to fight colony collapse disorder among bees. Proceeds will go to Seattle’s Pollinator Pathway and the Northwest Center for Alternatives for Pesticides. “I’m not going the doomsday route (with colony collapse disorder), but the beautiful and hopeful route,” Dhalwala wrote.

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