Late night customers at Aakash Auto Biryani in Sholinganallur | Photo Credit: Velankanni Raj B
An auto-rickshaw plying the streets of Chennai is not an uncommon sight, but this one, with its bright, orange colour, LED lights and metal tubs where the passengers will sit, is sure to raise some eyebrows.
Aakash Auto Biryani is serving Biryani in a unique way to the people of South Chennai through the back seat of the Auto. Owner and founder K Aakash is 23 years old, and has an impressive list of jobs under his belt. Besides his restaurant work, he says, “I am a bike stunt-rider and a mechanic.” “Earlier, I used to work at Navalur’s famous biryani restaurant Bai Veetu Kalyanam and drive an auto.”
From his college and diploma days, Akash always wanted to start his own business. “There are many new concepts like bike barbecue to food trucks, but no one has done anything with autos,” says Akash. Add cabinets and platforms to hold larger tubs. The ‘food truck’ is located on Old Mahabalipuram Road, near Sholinganallur Junction, and has been there since October 2022. It is open from 8 pm to 2 am at night, and caters largely to residents of the surrounding suburb and late into the night. Night workers from nearby IT offices.
After realizing that his customers would need a place to sit, and to serve the day time crowd, Aakash opened a restaurant near Thoraipakkam by the same name. It’s a cosy, yellow-walled corner on OMR, with the front of an auto pulling up near the restaurant’s door. If it were up to the sky, the entire space would be auto-themed. “I want people to sit in auto-seats and have headlamps and small fans,” he says. His ultimate goal is to raise enough money to open a restaurant in Anna Nagar, and make it as yellow and auto-friendly as possible. Have to make it full.
Akash runs a restaurant and food truck along with his brother Vignesh. “I have five years of experience in the hotel and food industry, but I always wanted to create a new and unique business,” says Vignesh. Every day, a fresh batch of biryani is prepared by 7 p.m., weekends 50 kgs on weekends and 30 kgs on weekdays. The food truck has a scrumptious assortment of both chicken and beef biryani Raita, An optional side of Eggplant Curry and Chicken 65.
When Akash first launched the idea, he credited YouTubers for helping him grow in popularity. Manoj Kumar, a customer of the shop, says, “I came across a vlog, the concept was interesting.” One of the videos had nearly 4.4 lakh views. And, those who come for auto, return for biryani. Prices start at ₹120 for an unlimited biryani, with additional costs for add-ons like Chicken 65. R Gowri, an HR professional, lives in Medavakkam but comes here for biryani. When asked why, she giggles. “It’s good biryani, I don’t need any other reason.”