New Indian restaurant benefits a different nonprofit every day

Along Centre Avenue in East Liberty and among a gaggle of banks and phone stores sits Choolaah, Pittsburgh’s newest Indian barbecue restaurant.

And their cafe-style eats like paneer cheese, veggie croquette (fried lentil balls), fresh meats and salads aren’t the only reason the place is making headlines: Choolaah is also on day 19 of their “30-for-30” program, for which they’ll donate 30% of sales driven by the respective regional nonprofit organization for at least 30 days.

However, Choolaah head of community Kit Mueller, says the fundraising program may go on for even longer than that. Hear what he had to say to RabbleVID’s Hillary Maglin below.

“From the outset, we wanted to show that we wanted to be… part of the fabric of the community,” Mueller said of the 30-for-30 initiative. “The response has been overwhelming, and we’re getting a ton of inbound from that.”

Since the 30-for-30 program began, Mueller and the staff have heard from nearly 50 different organizations across the region. He says the restaurant will likely partner with all of them.

On Monday, Choolaah collaborated with Pittsburgh’s Repair the World chapter. The nonprofit organizes service and volunteer events across the city that meet real local needs, specifically through education justice and food justice.

“Our vision is to transform the quality of life of everyone we touch,” Mueller explained, referencing the eatery’s mission statement, vision and values which hangs neatly on the wall beside a group of tables.

Choolaah’s Pittsburgh location is one of the newest establishments in East Liberty — founder Raji Sankar revealed it’s only been open since January 26th. The restaurant joins locations in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Fairfax and Washington, D.C. Mueller says the other stores are no strangers to nonprofit collaborations either.

And lucky for Mueller, Sankar and local charity organizations, the newest addition to the Choolaah family has been a hit.

“It’s been a fun time to just see people coming here for the first time, for the eleventeenth time,” Mueller said.

Find out more about Choolaah’s story, mission and food here.


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