A family run business has been serving delicious Indian food to the Preston community for decades and although its appearance has changed over the years, its roots have always remained the same.
RK Dining in Preston has played an important role in providing authentic Indian cuisine to the city, establishing its position in the cultural food industry and providing tasty meals for all. Although it had humble beginnings over 30 years ago, it has since grown into a popular restaurant that has grown in size in recent years.
Husband and wife, Kamal and Ramila Parekh, founded the company based on their shared love for food and their culture. As vegetarians themselves, they drew inspiration from their house menus to offer similar dishes to others.
Read more: Preston food bank plea as cost of living crisis leaves shelves bare
At this point, RK was just a take-out business where the couple prepared exotic dishes and sold them to a handful of people.
But word of mouth was enough for the duo to quickly be inundated with requests for their delicious home-cooked meals and from there they opened a small cafe-style shop. At the corner of St Paul’s Road, the store was just big enough to hold three to four tables. Here, the couple continued to make more of the food they loved and the food their growing clientele loved too.
Now, having moved to Plungington Road, the team, space and menu have grown significantly to keep up with the love and demand for their food. RK Dining now has a team of 15-20 employees working to cook, serve and greet customers in what has become one of the city’s leading restaurants for vegan and vegetarian meals.
The store, near the university, has maintained a firm stance in this area for the past seven years, concocting a variety of dishes, snacks and treats for everyone. While the sons of the Parekh family now take on the day-to-day running of the business, Niraj Parekh says the heart of the business is what attracts customers the most.
“Vegan and vegetarian cultures have grown over the years and with our already vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free food, we’ve had an influx of customers,” Niraj said.
“There aren’t many other places that only offer vegetarian food and that helps us stand out. With our catering we get requests from all over, we get them from Bradford and other towns and in When it comes to Indian weddings, RK is pretty high there for recommendations.
“Our Masala Dosa is our best meal, I would say. They literally fly out of the store and so out curries. Our food brings you home and gives you those memories of India.”
With the university being close to the restaurant – and with their great prices for students – the restaurant staff have seen their clientele change since the move to Plungington Road.
“Our customers are quite mixed and we get such a mix of cultures just 10-15 minutes from the university, so we used to bring in a lot of Indians and South Asians,” Niraj said.
“Now it’s a mix with college, and with people trying our food and with word of mouth, we have a whole mix of people coming in. We get a lot of people, especially for our articles without gluten free and our vegan items Where me and my brother go out to eat there aren’t many options for people with celiac disease, nut allergic guests and vegans, but I think we offer a lot of different choices in that regard.”
The adaptation of the classic Indian dishes that Kamal and Ramila serve now draw waves of people to the restaurant and the addition of Indian street food also plays a big role in the footfall they receive each day.
Niraj said: “Our unique point is our street food. We started by making curries mainly, but then we added our street food and our Indochinese counter and both are really popular.
“People will come here based on referrals from friends and family. We see a lot of familiar faces, we see our customers more like family, we invite everyone as family, and we try to treat them as best we can to that they can enter happy and when they leave, they leave with a smile too.”