Peer, Family Pressure Leads To New Township Restaurant

Co-owner and chef Abdul Uddin behind the grill at Eli Fish and Grill on Route 27.

Peer pressure, of a sort, has resulted in the newest restaurant in the township.

The owners of Eli Fish and Grill, Shepa and Abdul Uddin, finally gave in to the pleadings of friends and family to take Abdul’s cooking “mainstream.”

The couple, natives of Bangladesh, opened their eatery in the Desi Food Galaxy, 2021 Route 27, with an invite-only event on March 31. The formal opening is April 1.

Township Councilwoman Kimberly Francois and Mayor Phil Kramer enjoy coconut water right out of the coconut while Desi Food Galaxy co-owner Panne Patel looks on.

Among the invited guests were Mayor Phil Kramer and Township Councilwoman Kimberly Francois (D-At Large).

Abdul Uddin has been cooking since he was a child, his wife said. He’s had years to perfect the recipes of the fusion food offered at the grill.

Named after their son, Eli, the grill features a variety of fish dishes, as well as meat offerings.

“It’s not your ordinary Indian food,” Shepa Uddin said. “We are mixing a bit of American spices, Mediterranean spices, Spanish spices and Indian into a mix that gives the food a specific modern twist flavor.”

“When you taste this food, you can’t say oh, I tasted this in X,Y,Z restaurant, because you won’t,” she said.

“My husband has been creating this for a couple of years in our home, and now we’re bringing it out into the mainstream and hopefully everyone enjoys the food,” she said.

Prior to opening the restaurant, Abdul cooked for his family and friends, and did the occasional catering job. It was during those times that family and friends urged him to go commercial.

“Our family has been pushing us for quite some time,” Shepa Uddin said. “A lot of our friends have been telling Abdul, you can’t just keep this secret in your house, you have to get it out. You have to let people try your food. So we finally said we have to.”

Eli Fish and Grill is located within the Desi Food Galaxy, which is an indoor food court. Desi owner Panna Patel said she and her husband’s goal when opening the location in 2009 was to offer as many different kinds of food as possible.

“We have a Nigerian kabob, Chinese food, Caribbean food, now we have Bengali,” she said. “North Indian, South Indian, West Indian. Then we have sweets, fresh juice. And then after you’ve finished everything, we have Indian mouth freshener.”

Patel said she is certain Eli Fish and Grill will be successful.

“His food is amazing,” she said.

A mutual friend told the Uddin’s about the open space in the Food Galaxy, Shepa Uddin said.

She said the fact that it came highly recommended, plus teh food court’s ambience, convinced them to open there.

Eli Fish and Grill is open 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.


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