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Indian restaurant plans opening in downtown York

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Infusion Indian Kitchen, a restaurant described as the first success story for York's Taste Test pop-up restaurant series, is planning to open this fall at 24 S. George St. in downtown York.

After auditioning his restaurant plan in two short-term stints and one longer one, chef Hamir Patel expects to open the new Indian restaurant in a vacant storefront that previously housed Pastries of France and Healthy World Cafe.

No official opening date has been given.

Taste Test is a restaurant series in which aspiring restaurateurs audition their concepts during a short-term pop-up period, with a chance from there to possibly audition for a longer three-month stint.

Patel’s Infusion Indian Kitchen is the first restaurant concept to go through the short-term and then longer stints in the Taste Test auditions and open on its own.

"He’s the first major success story that Taste Test has had, but certainly not the last," said series partner and creative director Allison Witherow.

Patel, doing business as Hampat Specialty Foods LLC, recently leased the 2,317-square-foot storefront space from Colonial Centre Square LLC, officials with York’s ROCK Commercial Real Estate said.

One of Patel’s shorter tryout stints was at Taste Test’s 101 S. Duke St. location, where he received an overwhelmingly positive response. He began a longer stint starting in July at the series’ adjoining 105 S. Duke St. site, Witherow said.

"Our goal at Taste Test is to diversify the downtown dining scene with concepts that are proven before they even open their doors. Adding an Indian restaurant to the mix is just the beginning," she said.

Taste Test for 2018 will be looking to develop plans to help fund aspiring restaurant owners when they are finished with their long-term pop-ups, Witherow said.

Offering alternative financing to the prospective business owners is important, she said. "It’s so hard to get traditional financing from a bank, since the restaurant industry has such a significant failure rate."

She will be able to release more details when the plan is finalized, she said.

Taste Test also helps to connect budding restaurateurs with downtown York real estate officials when a retail site becomes available, Witherow said. Patel found the South George Street site, just south of York’s Continental Square, on his own, she said.

The next long-term pop-up restaurant at 105 S. Duke St., will be called Bistec Brasserie, and is expected to open soon and run through January. Witherow called it "a neighborhood bar, featuring favorites from Europe and beyond."

The official ribbon-cutting for Bistec Brasserie is this Thursday at 5:30 p.m., according to Debbie Bailey, manager of business services for the York City impropvement and economic-revitalization organization Downtown Inc. Bistec will offer lunch, dinner, late-night food and brunch, and will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Bailey also said.

Come spring, plans are for a long-term pop-up venture called Nacho Cabra, developed by two budding Lancaster restaurateurs. Witherow said it will be a fast-casual nacho brewpub.

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David O'Connor

David O'Connor

Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at doconnor@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @DaveOC_CPBJ.

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