2020 | Dine

Tikka Masala Indian restaurant opening in Bethesda Friday

Will serve through takeout, delivery during pandemic

Photo by Dan Schere

Tikka Masala, a new Indian restaurant named after the classic curry dish, is set to open in downtown Bethesda on Friday.

The restaurant, at 4929 Elm St., will serve only takeout and delivery due to Montgomery County’s most recent set of COVID-19 restrictions that bans indoor dining at bars and restaurants. The County Council passed the restrictions Tuesday; they took effect at 5 p.m.

Tikka Masala will serve a variety of lamb and chicken dishes for $12 to $14, as well as vegetarian entrees that include Palak Paneer (spinach and cheese cubes), Chana Masala (chickpea curry) and cauliflower vindaloo. The vegetarian entrees range from $9 to $10.

The restaurant will serve four Tikka Masala entrees — chicken, shrimp, lamb and paneer (cheese). Those entrees cost $12 to $17.

Tikka Masala replaces another Indian restaurant, Lotus Grill and Bar, which closed last month after a year and a half in business.

Owner Rakesh Shetty told Bethesda Beat in an interview on Tuesday that he previously owned restaurants in Burtonsville and Frederick. Additionally, he said his first job was at the Indian restaurant Delhi Dhaba in Bethesda Row, which closed in 2011 and was replaced by Tandoori Nights.

Shetty said the Bethesda community is “all about restaurants and foodies.”

“People, they like to come here and try different cuisines. It’s amazing,” he said.

Shetty said he is aware of the current economic challenges of operating a restaurant during the pandemic, but hopes customers will be enticed by high-quality food at what he feels are reasonable prices.

“People are asking why you want to open during COVID times. It’s because of the landlord. The landlord has given us some good deals and he’s working with us,” he said. “He’s talking to us and is ready to work with us, so why not take this opportunity?”

Shetty said Tikka Masala will be open from noon to 9 p.m. seven days a week. It will offer takeout and delivery within five miles of the restaurant. Customers can call or order using applications such as Grubhub and Doordash.

When restaurants eventually open up again, Tikka Masala will be able to seat 70 to 80  people at normal capacity, Shetty said.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com