The Royal India family has found great success in Eugene for the last six years with its delightful yet traditional Indian recipes. Royal India first opened its Eugene location in the Valley River Way market in November 2017.
R Pizza — short for Royal Pizza — opened earlier this year in the Northgate Shopping Center in Springfield and entered into the world of fusion restaurants.
R Pizza’s menu acknowledges the classics: cheese, pepperoni and Hawaiian. It also offers a wide variety of specialty pies, including the popular tikka pizza, which features the classic Royal India chicken tikka with corn salsa and jalapeños. You can also find the exotic spicy Korean pizza, which features a spicy miso sauce, a mix of mushrooms, shredded nori and bacon. Both are packed with flavor.
The owners aim to provide foodies with a blend of tradition and modernity at R Pizza.
The Royal India family of owners live in Eugene and are originally from Punjab, India. They found Sital Patel, a restaurant developer and chef, to help them launch a menu that could provide customers with elevated Indian food. Patel is the mastermind behind all of Royal India’s recipes, as well as R Pizza’s.
Managing partner and head honcho at R Pizza Sarandeep Singh explains, “Sital gave us all the recipes and we follow them down to a T. Everything is made in-house from our lemonade to our ranch to our naan and pizzas.”
After moving to the U.S. with her family from Gujarat, India, Patel says she found her passion for cooking when she was 16 years old. Patel is well-versed in the culinary world, as she graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York. She currently resides in New Jersey and oversees many restaurants across the country. Shortly after graduating, she was approached with a unique opportunity from a quirky restaurant in New Brunswick.
“They wanted to do Indian Italian food. Don’t me ask why,” Patel says, “but the restaurant was called ‘Ginger N’ Olive.’ And when I went in, they had a 160-item menu, a really badly designed logo, and a dining room that was straight out of the ’80s.”
Patel adds, “But, I had control of the menu. I didn’t have a choice, but it was still a positive for me. I could bring my own crew in. It was the first job where I was able to run a full-blown kitchen. I was not someone’s sous chef, and I wasn’t cooking someone else’s food, so I focused on that.”
It was then that Patel had a vision for what R Pizza is today. She says that was the first time she saw the full potential of a well-made chicken tikka masala sauce and how it could be used in different forms, both traditional and modern.
Patel seems to be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to her menus. So much so that the lemonade had 11 versions before being put on the menu.
R Pizza’s lemonade recipe is a mix of lemonade and limeade and features three natural flavors: classic, strawberry and mango, all of which provide the perfect tangy balance when paired with one of the specialty pies.
In addition to their pizzas, R Pizza also offers a variety of different café style items. With a state-of-the-art clay tandoor oven built into the kitchen, R Pizza has the most authentic naan in Eugene.
However, perhaps their most traditional and nurtured menu item is chai. Let’s set the record straight once and for all: This is not a typical “chai tea.” As a matter of fact, chai in Hindustani directly translates to “tea.” Hence, the term “chai tea” is redundant and inaccurate because it literally means “tea tea.”
R Pizza prepares its chai in a dhoodh pati style, which refers to chai that is boiled with milk, sugar and green cardamom instead of the conventional water-based brew. The menu features three iterations of the dhoodh pati chai: classic chai, rose chai and the most popular coconut cinnamon chai.
Indeed, R Pizza offers a menu that invites a diverse customer base and caters to all types of pizza lovers. This is something that the Royal India family is very proud of.
Singh says, “You won’t find chicken tikka pizza anywhere in this town besides here.”