Have you ever craved Indian food, but wanted to try a different take on Chicken Tikka Masala or Tandoor Paneer? Look no further than The Bombay Frankie Company–although you may do a double-take when you see that the location is tucked away in a local LA gas station. This spot has been serving up tasty Frankies, also known as the Indian burrito, since 2017.
Brother and sister, Hiram and Priyanka Mac, chose to open a place that focused on this quick, portable, and tasty street food from Mumbai. Using recipes and ingredients that they grew up with at home, they sought to create a menu that their own family would indulge in.
We sat down with the Mac siblings to learn more about their background, success, and future plans.
Tell me about the start of The Bombay Frankie Company.
Hiram: The idea came about kind of as an accident. We had the perfect storm of things going on. We had this space free. We used to be in the convenience store/gas station business, as a family business. Dad started the business many years ago. We entered the business. I was five years ago, Priyanka was four years ago. Dad does so many different things, so many entrepreneurial interests. It’s in his blood, and we inherited it because it’s infectious. So we’re like, “We can do our own thing too.”
So what happened was that Dad’s friend, who’s our chef, lost a lease for his restaurant–his two restaurants actually. [His dad’s] like, “You’ve got to do something for us. Do something for me.” This space became free. We’re like, “Wait a second, let’s partner and put the creative forces together. We think we can do something like this. We love Indian food. We feel like there’s a void in the marketplace.” He’s got the talent, culinary-wise. So, let’s see what can happen.
What is important when it comes to menu planning?
Priyanka: I think we don’t want to put out a product that we wouldn’t eat ourselves or feed our kids. So that’s really important to us. Again, I think both of us grew up here in LA, and you know, our parents would take us to Indian restaurants. You kind of leave sometimes feeling a bit oily and gross. So, we didn’t want that. We wanted to put out a level of food that’s not available, right now, as far as Indian food goes.
What’re your favorite menu items?
Hiram: I love the Chicken Tikka Masala. I never ate it growing up, because it’s creamy, it’s rich, it’s decadent. But the way we cook it, it’s–I’ll call it sustainable. I could eat it every day, and not feel like I’m weighed down by it. So I do, I indulge. And then, I love the rotis. So, roti’s more like–if a naan is the first cut, the deeper cut would be a roti, because that’s something more familiar to a home type of food. We make an awesome version of it, just like hold the butter, just because, again, I want it to be sustainable. And then the third thing would be our Saag Paneer–the spinach and the paneer together. I think our chef makes a pretty awesome version, which is very Punjabi or North Indian-centric.
What makes your style of food different from other places?
Priyanka: It’s definitely our Frankie. We call it, “We’re home of the Indian burrito.” You go to any Indian restaurant, you’re going to see a lot of the same menu items. And yeah, we do offer a lot of those menu items, but what differentiates us is that we do make the Frankie, and we have all these different elements going inside that you normally wouldn’t put together. We’ll add avocado if you want avocado. It makes it more California. It’s just yummy. It’s great. It’s healthy.
Hiram: All the staple curries are Punjabi, but then the Frankie itself was created in Maharashtra, in Mumbai, which is a little bit further west. So middle of country, west, merging two regions–but I think that’s the only thing we’ve plucked from that region itself. Our food is very Punjabi because Gujarati food can be a little sweeter. Southern food can be a lot spicier and more coconut flavor. Ours is rich tomato and garlic and ginger for a bit of punch.
The Bombay Frankie Company
11261 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
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