Peterborough's longest serving restaurant boss Rony celebrates 35 years
Speak to Peterborough's 'Curry King' Rony Choudhury and you will notice he uses the word 'loyalty' quite a lot.
Of course, the owner of the Bombay Brasserie in Broadway, has grafted long and hard to make his “most exclusive Indian restaurant” - and its predecessors for that matter - a success, but he is quick to point out the part played by his loyal customers down the years.
And, as he is known to do, Rony will be repaying that loyalty with four days of celebrations in May as he marks 35 years as a restaurateur.
Thousands of invites have gone out to customers he has come to know down the years – years of meeting and greeting at pretty much every lunch and dinner sittings.
“I have had hundreds of acceptances back already,” said Rony, who expects as many as 5,000 people to turn up at one of the 10 buffet slots across four days starting on May 8.
“I take my business very seriously and I try to get to know all of the regular faces who come to my restaurant, but anyone who hasn’t had an invite is free to come in and pick one up.
Many of those who have are following in family footsteps - “I have customers wh0 have been coming to my restaurants for more than 30 years, and some who are second or third generation. I think that shows that my customers like what I do,” he said.
And Rony, now in his sixties, has been doing it in Peterborough longer than anyone.
“Rinaldo (Fasulo) started at about the same time as me with the Pizza House in Cowgate but while he is still around he is no longer in the restaurant business,” he says.
Rony cut his teeth working at the renowned Mumtaz restaurant in Cowgate in the late 1970s (a building in which Rinaldo later opened Topo Gigio’s) before taking the next step with a business partner and opening the Eastern Gardens Indian restaurant on Lincoln Road in 1981 - the start of his 35-year reign.
When he got the chance to move into the city centre, he cut his ties and opened the original Bombay Brasserie on Broadway in 1988 - a site now occupied by the St Petersburgh restaurant.
And in 2004, he moved across the road to the newly-built restaurant he still occupies.
“I love what I do and I thought 35 years was an anniversary worth celebrating - I won’t be doing it in another 35 years that is for sure.
“I also wanted to repay the loyalty of my customers. I have been successful down the years because of their loyalty and they deserve it.”