Indian street food truck a venture between boss and employee in Cape Breton

SYDNEY, NS — The butter chicken poutine sold at Ammy’s Takeout was created by accident.

Owner Sajive Kochhar tells the story while sitting at one of the picnic tables of the food truck, which specializes in Indian street food.

While working the counter at Caper Crepes, a takeout kiosk he opened at Cape Breton University in 2017, Kochhar was asked by a hockey player if he served chicken poutine.

He didn’t, but there was butter chicken gravy and fries. Kochhar said the hockey player, at the university for a tournament, hadn’t tried butter chicken before.

“The guy couldn’t stop eating it. He loved it,” Kochhar said. “He was making comments to everyone around him. That’s how we figured, OK, we should do butter chicken poutine.”

Once added to the Caper Crepes menu, the butter chicken poutine quickly became a customer favourite.

And now it is also a favorite at Kochhar’s newest takeout food enterprise, Ammy’s Takeout food truck, which he opened with partner Amritpal (Ammy) Singh, a longtime Caper Crepe employee.

Butter chicken poutine from Ammy's Takeout, an Indian street food truck on Reeves Street in Sydney.  CONTRIBUTED/FACEBOOK
Butter chicken poutine from Ammy’s Takeout, an Indian street food truck on Reeves Street in Sydney. CONTRIBUTED/FACEBOOK

Crepes at Ammy’s

Singh, from Punjab, India, moved to Cape Breton to attend university in 2017; the same year Kochhar opened Caper Crepes at CBU.

“I used to make crepes at the (Cape Breton) Farmers’ Market. When I saw the Indian students were coming, I wanted to open a kiosk at the university because I knew, traditionally, the Indian students — they prefer Indian food as to Canadian food,” Kochhar said.

Kochhar also wanted to provide job opportunities to Indian students and knew they would already have knowledge of authentic Indian cuisine.

“It will be (food) that they would eat and it would feel like being at home,” he said. “I know the Indian students are working hard and studying. I wanted to let them have access to Indian food and not have the burden to cook at home.”

One of the first staff members hired in 2017, Singh proved himself to be a hard worker who got along well with Kochhar.

Singh, then enrolled in the petroleum engineering program at CBU, soon realized he loved working in the kitchen.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the closure of CBU campus in mid-March 2020 and Caper Crepes hasn’t been able to open yet.

Now a graduate, Singh decided to partner up with Kochhar and create the food truck offering all the Indian menu items from Caper Crepes and more.

“We were getting so many requests from people,” said Singh, sitting next to his Kochhar at the picnic table in front of their bright yellow food truck.

“They wanted us to open back up again, but unfortunately due to COVID-19 we were not able to. So that’s why we decided to open here.”

Amritpal (Ammy) Singh stirs a pot of chana masala inside the Indian street food truck named after him that he opened with business partner, Sanjive Kochhar.  NICOLE SULLIVAN/CAPE BRETON POST
Amritpal (Ammy) Singh stirs a pot of chana masala inside the Indian street food truck named after him that he opened with business partner, Sanjive Kochhar. NICOLE SULLIVAN/CAPE BRETON POST

freshly made

Meals are made to order at Ammy’s, located on Reeves Street at one entrance of the Schwartz Furniture parking lot. If you order samosas, for example, the dough is then rolled and stuffed before frying and not simply reheated.

This means it takes roughly 20-25 minutes per order and the soon-to-be co-owners recommend calling in your order for pickup.

From the moment Ammy’s Takeout set up shop in February, “business has been really good, given the fact that we opened in the middle of winter,” said Singh.

“We did very well. We had sales of $20,000 in the very first month,” added Kochhar.

Tandori fried momos from Ammy's Takeout, an Indian street food truck on Reeves Street in Sydney.  CONTRIBUTED / AMMY'S TAKEOUT - Ammy's Takeout
Tandori fried momos from Ammy’s Takeout, an Indian street food truck on Reeves Street in Sydney. CONTRIBUTED / AMMY’S TAKEOUT – Ammy’s Takeout

Located in a more central location, Ammy’s Takeout has a strong regular clientele, including students from India and people who live and work in the area.

Future plans include reopening Caper Crepes when they can and adding another food truck in the downtown Sydney area.

Ammy’s Takeout has a Facebook page and you can reach them by phone at 902-564-0137.

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