Former Maharaja partner opens India Garden in Wauwatosa

Charnjit Bolla is ready for diners at his new restaurant, India Garden, with his father Baldev Bolla (right).

Charnjit Bolla is ready for diners at his new restaurant, India Garden, with his father Baldev Bolla (right).

Dec. 23, 2014

With items like "pizza nan" on the menu, Charnjit Bolla's new Indian restaurant in Wauwatosa offers a new twist on Milwaukee's popular Maharaja restaurant, where Bolla was a partner for 17 years.

Bolla opened India Garden Friday, Dec. 19, in the former location of Open Hearth at 2930 N. 117th St.

Although there are some Indian restaurants in the area, like Taste of India in Brookfield and Tandoor Restaurant in West Allis, Bolla said he heard from people in the area that they wanted another, closer Indian option. He said the restaurant's location is ideal because of its proximity to the Mayfair Collection, Mayfair mall, and an AMC Theatre that often shows Indian films.

India Garden, which employs chefs who previously worked at five-star hotels in India, offers dozens of traditional dishes, including curries, noodles, uttapams (like pizza crust), dosas (like crisp crepes), and seafood. American-inspired non-traditional items include lobster dishes and pizzas made on Indian flat breads.

Prices for entrees mostly fall between $13 and $16, with a wide spread of vegetarian options being cheaper and seafood dishes running higher.

Bolla's family has a long history in the restaurant industry. His dad, Baldev Bolla, first started working in restaurants 30 years ago in Boston and New York before moving to Milwaukee to help start Maharaja with friends. Charnjit, born in India, then moved to Milwaukee and became a partner at Maharaja.

"I like it because you meet new people every day," Charnjit said of working in restaurants.

The Bollas have both left Maharaja behind. Baldev helped his son develop his menu for India Garden with his encyclopedic knowledge of Indian spices and recipes.

"The recipes here are very authentic," Charnjit said.

The restaurant seats 98 with a patio area, full-service bar, and indoor fireplace. Charnjit said he plans to eventually open a banquet hall in part of the building that is currently empty.

India Garden offers take-out, a lunch buffet 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and dinners 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with extended hours to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. More information is at


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