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Philly Indian restaurant Kurry Shack will expand to four locations

Restaurateur Shafi Gaffar started the fast-casual brand in South Philadelphia in 2019 just before the pandemic. On Friday, he's opening new locations in Center City, Old City, and Francisville.

Shafi Gaffar outside the Kurry Shack restaurant at 21st and Chestnut Streets.
Shafi Gaffar outside the Kurry Shack restaurant at 21st and Chestnut Streets.Read moreEDDY MARENCO

Restaurateur Shafi Gaffar opened Kurry Shack on a South Philadelphia corner in late 2019 as a proof of concept, built for taste and for speedy service from self-ordering kiosks.

It worked so well that on Friday, Aug. 27, Gaffar will fan out with three new locations of the Northern Indian restaurant: 6 N. Third St. in Old City, 2101 Chestnut St. in Rittenhouse, and 1839 Poplar St. in Francisville.

All will offer pickup, take-out, delivery, and dine-in, and will mark the opening weekend (Friday to Sunday) with free mango lassi and free appetizer (pakoras or samosa) for dine-in or takeout.

Gaffar, 32, who lives with his wife in Northern Liberties, was born in Bangladesh and as a tot moved to Philadelphia, where his family ran restaurants. After Temple University, he went to work in operations for NY Ice Cream Inc., which ran franchise restaurants in New York and Philadelphia. At 24, he bought Tandoor India in University City, bringing in Sanjoy Banik as executive chef and expanding to Collegeville, Fishtown, and South Philadelphia.

Gaffar’s next project with Banik, in early 2019, was Makhani Modern Indian, a fine-dining BYOB directly across Third Street from what is now the Kurry Shack in Old City. He wanted a casual counterpoint, so later that year he opened the first Kurry Shack at 2015 E. Moyamensing Ave.

Makhani closed last year.

The Francisville location, formerly Gin & Pop and Greyhound Cafe, is the largest of the four. It’s BYOB, but the bar’s draft system now pours Inspired Brews kombucha, plus nonalcoholic drinks are served. The Old City location, the former home of the original location for Gianfranco Pizza Rustica (now next door), has only a counter and stools for six to eight people. Center City’s location (formerly Star of David deli) will run lunch specials and seat only four to six people inside and outside.

Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.