Restaurant celebrates one year of business after opening during COVID-19 pandemic

One small business owner decided the COVID-19 pandemic wasn't going to stop him from opening his new restaurant in Dunwoody

Tuesday marks one year since The Royal Spice Indian Restaurant opened, and owner Junayed Ahmed is celebrating. When asked what it's been like opening and operating a business during a pandemic, Ahmed chuckled and says, "it's different."

Despite the obvious challenges, the restaurant has down well over the last year. In fact, one of the most popular dishes on the menu is tiki masala, and Ahmed says "the chef probably makes it no less than 100 times a day."

"Every [dish] that comes out of this kitchen is all customized, nothing is pre-made. That's what makes it great," says Ahmed.

He's lived in Dunwoody for the last 20 years and says without the support of the community over the last year, the business wouldn't have survived. Even the city's mayor is noticing.

When speaking to Ahmed during a soft opening ceremony Tuesday, Mayor Lynn Deutsch says, "you have done something that very few small business owners would have ever had the bravery to do, and the courage to do."

Mayor Deutsch and other city leaders gathered in front of the Royal Spice Indian Restaurant to cut a red ribbon in honor of its one-year milestone. Because of COIVD-19, they weren't able to have a grand opening ceremony.

Ahmed says in addition to community support, the ability for his staff to adapt and utilize curbside pickup also contributed to the business' success.

Customers who spoke with FOX 5 Atlanta describe the Indian food as exquisite, satisfactory, and delicious.

"I'm so excited that we have yet another business that opened in Dunwoody, and has been able to find a path through the pandemic, and is hereafter the pandemic too," says Mayor Deutsch.

And after 365 days of success, Ahmed says thoughts of expanding are starting to surface. He says, "I'm thinking of, you know, maybe another location."

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