Established in 2007, The Pongal in Billerica MA, specializes in preparing traditional dishes from the southern part of India. The Pongal is named after the harvest festival, equivalent to a thanksgiving event, and is celebrated in various parts of India.
The Pongal offers selected menu items from all parts of India including Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Calcutta, Punjab, Karnataka, and Bombay with emphasis on items from Southern part of India. Most of the items on the menu are authentic preparations available only in smaller regional towns in southern India.
Designed by manager-chef Kalai, the interior of the restaurant is beautifully decorated in the warm, rich colors. Stone carvings and other art dating depicting traditions dating back to 1000 years are used throughout the restaurant to create an ambience typically found in homes in southern India.
About our Team
The Pongal’s team of dedicated chef’s draw on India’s varied regions to take diners on a culinary voyage of the subcontinent. The Pongal is the fourth restaurant in a group of restaurants, the other three are located in Bangalore, India, owned and managed by a successful management team that includes Kalai Chandrasekaran who is the Manager and Executive Chef of The Pongal.
Kalai started his restaurant career in 1992 when he trained at the Food Craft Institute in India. His first job was at the Taj Garden Retreat, (Taj Group Of Hotels) in India where his responsibilities included preparation of South Indian food and maintenance of quality and sanitary standards. Subsequently, he has been employed at Curry Leaf Restaurant and as a General Manager in The Pongal Restaurant in Bangalore, India.
Kalai has travelled to various parts of India through the years to experience the flavors that are unique to the different regions. Under his direction, the team of chef’s at the Pongal prepares authentic regional dishes from India by using a variety of spice bases that are prepared at the restaurant from fresh raw ingredients. This gives each regional dish a unique flavor that is a hallmark of that region.