Gems off the light rail: A taste of India at the Dhaba

Uncover hidden gems all over the city with reporter Nicole Dusanek as she gets off at a different light rail stop each week to explore.

Located down the road from the McClintock and Apache Metro light rail station is a piece of India, The Dhaba, rooted against an Arizona landscape.

Near an off-campus apartment complex, Boulevard 1900, The Dhaba is a unique escape for any student. With a college-student budget, travel seems like a dream for the future. This small gift shop, restaurant and convenience store allow students to escape from Arizona and travel 9,000 miles away just by hopping on the light rail and stepping off only a few stops from the Tempe campus. 

The gift shop is filled with intriguing trinkets that are as beautiful as they are notable. It includes some classic Indian fashion of bright, beaded and traditional style. 

Cluttered shelves make the shopper feel like a treasure hunter; items found here cannot be found at the typical mall. 

Next to the gift shop is a restaurant serving Punjabi food. This cuisine is a part of northern India and is often served at Dhabas, located along the roadside in India. Dhabas are known for seating guests on cots and presenting the food made inside of a clay oven. While the restaurant is located within a small space, it seats its guests comfortably. 

When ordering, the waiter will ask you what heat level you want your food at on a scale of one to 10. The spices used in the meals give its tasters an authentic kick. One of the first things you notice as you enter the door is the thick smell of spices. Having never been to a roadside in India, I can only say that the restaurant felt authentic and the food really seemed to bring an exotic option that other restaurants in Tempe cannot compare to.

Apart from the gift shop stands a grocery store, one that may be described as a convenience store. There were shelves filled with food and grains. It is much larger than it first appears and offers an array of both Indian and American items alike. This area also includes entertainment like Indian movies.

There is so much to see and there are some gems to found within the other objects. 

While traveling may be something in the distant future, going to The Dhaba is a trip that won't break the bank. 

Related Links:

Gems off the light rail: Bargain buys at the Park 'n' Swap

Gems off the light rail: A piece of the past in downtown Phoenix

Reach the reporter at or follow @NikkiDusanek on Twitter

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