The talk of the town is that Chit Chaat, 550 State Street. Pakistani dishes aren’t always easy to find in Southeastern Wisconsin, but now that Chit Chaat is on the map, you don’t have to look any further.
Owners Junaid and Angela Shafique are sharing a piece of their life with those who are looking to try something different. This couple believes in sourcing from fair trade, local and organic ingredients when possible. This piece of their business separates them others. Together, they will celebrate their 2-year anniversary in May of 2021.
You can expect a taste of homestyle Pakistani and street foods with an American twist. The drinks are as good as the food, too. You may even want to try their chai and espresso bar. Their menu is packed full of flavors. Check out the full menu here.
From Overseas to Racine
This restaurant is a fusion of two cultures, making the dining experience at Chit Chaat different than most. Angela was born and raised in Racine, but in contrast, her husband is from Pakistan. However, the two met in Japan. Angela was teaching English overseas and it was destiny to meet the love of her life. When relocating to Racine, the two began their journey to bringing a taste of the middle east to the coast of the Great Lakes.
Angela says, “we have two cultures in our ownership. So, we have a Pakistani eye and an American eye, which makes things a little different compared to a traditional Indian or Pakistani restaurant.”
Taste of Pakistan
This tasty bite that’s inspired from Junaid’s life is worth trying. Tuesday through Thursday, they serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, they are open until 8 p.m. or later.
“‘Chaat’ is a catch all name for savory street foods in India and Pakistan with lots of toppings, similar to the way we throw lots of toppings on nachos. We wanted to be a fun place where people could stop in for a quick chit chat and snack, so the name seemed to fit,” says Angela.
You can try one of these tasty bites in house, curbside, or through their local delivery system. Stopping in for a bite to eat and little ‘chit chat’ is a great way to support this local business.
This local business has taken it upon themselves to also support local drivers. Chit Chaat owners say, “third party delivery systems charge restaurants between 30-40% in commissions and fees. To be honest, they really take all the profit out of making food. So to compensate, we have to charge higher prices.”
Chit Chaat and local drivers have teamed up and are putting that problem on the back burner. A group of local drivers started their own company delivering food and are doing that for Chit Chaat too.
Angela says, “it’s more efficient because we have better communication with customers and the local company, and also we don’t have anyone taking our profits out of state.”
Strength in Diversity
Having a diverse food option at our fingertips isn’t something every city has. Business owner, Angela Shafique is thankful for her roots in Racine that reminds her of the value of diversity. She says she loves being in Racine because of “the people here, the diversity of our city.”
Additionally, she says, “I feel lucky to have grown up around all races here and not taught to be “scared” of others based on their skin. When I left Racine, I realized how lucky I was to have it this way here as not all places are as racially diverse.”
The Shaique’s are adding to the inclusion by continuing to operate their business through the pandemic. Support their storefront by grabbing a bite to eat and leaving a review. Another great way to support this small business is by liking them on Facebook here.
Nominate a Business
If there is a business that you love, consider nominating them to be the next Racine County Eye Business Spotlight. Click here to nominate them. Read about other local businesses and their stories here. Contact Emma Widmar at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.