Shop Local for the Holidays: Discover Local Businesses Here

Meet a Business: India K' Raja

Meet a Business is a series featuring the person behind some of your favorite locally-owned businesses.

What is your name? 
Tony Sappal

What's your hometown? 
New Delhi, India

What is your business name? 
How many years have you owned/managed your business? 
26

What is the most popular item you sell?
Butter Chicken with Garlic Naan and Biryani

What local business can you not live without?
Royal Bazaar Indian Grocery

In what ways has your business changed since COVID-19?
The business has changed tremendously to more takeout/delivery than dine-in and become more dependent on the technology. Traditional methods of customer contact have significantly transformed to electronic media.

What's the first thing you do every morning to set the tone for your day?
After turning the alarm off, I lay in bed for a few minutes and say prayers in my heart being thankful for everything in my life.

What tool, object, or ritual could you not live without in your workday?
Internet connectivity that helped us proactively prepare and survive through the pandemic.

How did you come up with the name for your business?
India K' Raja literally means Kings of India. We wanted to convey what we are about in the name of our business which is being a leader in Indian cuisine in RVA.

How did you get the idea for your business?
Back in 1990's Indian cuisine was virtually non-existent in the Richmond area. In my opinion, a couple of Indian restaurants that served the cuisine did not offer a wholesome Indian experience. I wanted to introduce a huge variety of authentic flavors that the classic cuisine is known for with a warm hospitality of Indian family dining.

What does the world need more of?
Compassion and Respect for fellow living beings!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Power to make everyone happy!

What's your favorite thing to do in Richmond when you're not in your business?
Spending as much time as possible with my family and exploring interesting spots around.

What's your hidden talent?
I sing and also play Indian drums called "Dhol."

Who do you look up to and why?
I look up to my wife and business partner, Alka Sappal. She is an amazing woman with remarkable patience and ability to see positive in every situation regardless of it's severity. She's been a strong pillar of support in the success of our business through ups and downs over the years. She has kept our family, social, business and her professional life together all in perfect balance. She motivates me to be the best version of myself that I can be. JMD!

What do you love most about Richmond?
Big city with the small town friendliness of the people in Richmond.
What's the best thing about being a local business owner? 
Being a local business owner enables me to stay closely connected with my community and positively impact it's growth.
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