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Restaurant veteran buys Chhaya Cafe in South Philadelphia

Marc Grika, who ran multimillion-dollar restaurants for years, has downsized on East Passyunk.

Chhaya Cafe, 1819 E. Passyunk Ave.
Chhaya Cafe, 1819 E. Passyunk Ave.Read moreJESSIE FOX

Marc Grika, whose 20-plus-year restaurant resume includes top management jobs with Jose Garces and Stephen Starr, as well as far-flung stops with Catelli, China Grill Management, Rainforest Cafe, and Cheesecake Factory, has bought a restaurant of his own:

Chhaya Cafe, the popular bruncherie at 1819 E. Passyunk Ave.

Vernana "V" Beuria, who opened Chhaya in 2010 and moved it to a larger storefront nearby in 2014, has relocated with her husband to Washington, D.C.

Talk about downsizing for Grika. What would a guy who ran multimillion-dollar theme restaurants want with a 40-seat BYOB?

“I’m here because I want to be,” said Grika, who would only admit to having crossed the “50-yard line” when asked his age. “I don’t know a better feeling than creating and serving delicious food with love and care and then seeing people’s faces light up. You take a bite, you smile, you feel warm. It’s about nourishment.” (His LinkedIn bio: “Feed people like your grandmother fed you.”)

No immediate changes are expected, though he hopes to add dinner in September as well as special events, including pop-up dinners from guest chefs."