Bombay going Cajun

Brent Finnegan -- January 31st, 2008

I’m a fan of the lunch buffet at Bombay Courtyard on South Main, so when I read this rant on Craigslist, I called the restaurant, hoping it was false. But the owner confirmed that the operation will replace Indian cuisine with Cajun. They intend to make the switch from “Bombay Courtyard” to “Bourbon Street on Main” within the next few weeks.

28 Responses to “Bombay going Cajun”

  1. linz says:

    Noooooooo! :-(

  2. Scott Rogers says:

    That’s terrible — their food was great! I guess perhaps they didn’t have enough traffic coming through — I wonder if switching to Cajun will really solve that??

  3. Marcus says:

    What a terrible loss – I’ll have to go again soon before the change.

  4. JGFitzgerald says:

    This is God’s — or Shiva’s — way of telling you that you should be downtown eating Indian food.

  5. finnegan says:

    Oh, I do Indian American, too. I just like Bombay’s buffet. And I say that as someone who is generally very skeptical of buffets.

  6. Laura says:

    I don’t know if you’ve been there lately, but in my opinion it has not been as good as it used to be.
    Bombay Courtyard has been one of my favorites since it opened, but I was in there in November for dinner and things were very slow and disorganized; I was told it was due to ‘new staff’. I was back in December and had a very poor buffet meal but I wrote it off as a ‘bad day in the kitchen’. I went back a few weeks ago and had another disappointing (and cold) buffet meal. After 3 disappointing visits in a row I decided I would not go back.
    Maybe others had similar experiences and sales have been dropping?

  7. finnegan says:

    I haven’t personally experienced a steady decline in food quality there. Some of it may depend on how long it’s been sitting there (if it’s buffet).

    I’m pretty sure the restaurant changed ownership a couple of years ago. That may have something to do with it.

  8. Tina says:

    The last couple of times I’ve been there, there were “issues”. There were some odd dishes on the buffet – a kidney bean dish and a corn dish that I’d never seen before… there, or on the menu at other Indian places. And the pakora was only onions – basically onion rings. The rice pudding tasted like the milk had gone bad. One poor experience I can overlook, but it seemed like there was a steady decline in the quality and the “Indian-ness” of the food.

    Some friends who eat there more frequently also mentioned noticing changes – and not for the better – with the food and that there were French fries on the buffet.

    There’s a “rant” in the classifieds in the February edition of “eightyone” about it…

  9. David Troyer says:

    I can’t imagine it is the best location for a sit-down restaurant. Although El Charro’s is always hopping…

    Funny, a good friend of mine recently commented on how they thought it had gotten better in the past couple of months. Hopefully somehow all of this will mean more business for new ethnic eateries downtown… (I can’t wait for blue nile to open)

    I haven’t been there in a very long time but always considered it a different style than Indian American.

  10. Laura says:

    Tina – I noticed the odd dishes on the buffet too — creamed corn and something that looked and tasted like Hamburger Helper. No pakora at all. And the tandori chicken tray was empty and not re-filled in the 40 minutes I was there. They’re letting a sure thing slip right out of their fingers…

  11. Laura says:

    One more thing I just remembered — they had an ‘Under New Management’ sign out near the street for a while right around Christmas.

  12. Thanh says:

    I find this news interesting considering the relatively recent story about Bombay Courtyard and some cooking classes it holds. This story is just from two weeks ago:

  13. Seth says:

    i also love bombay. it’s the only place in town to get real indian food. not that i don’t have love for the indian americorps, but when i’m really craving creamy paneer saag, the nepali version just doesn’t cut it. and i don’t think that switching to cajun will help any more than switching captain t’s from the bootleg hburg version of chuckeecheese to whatever it is now has helped them out. then again, for all i know that place could be bumping these days.
    what it comes down to is that we’re now desparately in need of a new indian food from india restaurant. calling all desi entrepreneurs…

  14. Barnabas says:

    Is the Middle Eastern place just up the road from Bombay opened yet?
    I really want to try that place out.

  15. Laura says:

    Barnabas- the Middle Eastern place has a zoning issue they are dealing with right now. I went to the public hearing a few weeks ago and it turns out that that property is not zoned for a grocery or a restaurant. They ~may~ be able to continue the grocery store with a zoning change, but they probably don’t have enough parking to operate a restaurant. The rezoning has been tabled while the landlord works out a strategy. There is another hearing this month to resolve it.

  16. ammc says:

    Um, could someone please help draw the line from indian food to cajun for me….I’m struggling with the switch here.

    Nice link about the cooking classes they hold, that’s pretty rad.

  17. Josh says:

    I was disappointed to hear about the change. I’m not so sure how well a Cajun place will do in this sort of setting. A Cajun restaurant I used to go to in Blacksburg was great and part of the reason it has done so well is it can easily be walked to; I’d much rather see a Cajun restaurant in the downtown mix.

    e.g. something like this

  18. Jason says:

    I have only been in Harrisonburg for going on 8 months, and I had already been to Bombay Courtyard several times for lunch and dinner. It struck me that, with the place being so empty, there was a lot of potential for making the place more inviting.

    I never had any issues with the food, but how cool would it have been to install a giant-screen plasma TV on the back wall of the dining room? You could play clips from the best Bollywood musicals and really get the place hopping.

  19. Just heard their ad on WSVA…Bourbon Street on Main featuring Ladies NIght EVERY night. Guaranteed to be a different dining style.

    We shall see…

  20. Frank J Witt says:

    Alright folks, tonight is Grand Opening and they plan on selling all their food for 50% off. WOW, I’m sure that will go over great…

  21. jiab81 says:

    I was a big fan of Bombay’s lunch buffet too. It was the only resteraunt around that I enjoyed dining at. But I’m not surprised it tanked. Ever since the current owners of the resteraunt took over (in 2005 I believe it was), the food and service took a sharp turn downhill. It was particularly awful in the last few months. They tried to do the ‘bar’ thing, hoping that would increase their evening business, but to no avail. The resteraunt did not look as nice in the past couple months as they took all the decorations off the walls and that I’m sure didn’t help their business. I guess they figured transforming the place into more of a typical ‘cowtown’ type place would line their pockets.

  22. finnegan says:

    Uhh… Here’s video from the restaurant formerly known as Bombay.

  23. Emmy says:

    Um, that’s odd. I know where I won’t be going. Two people I know have eaten there and neither were impressed.

  24. Frank J Witt says:

    Sssoooooo, that’s how they do it on Bourbon Street…

    A friend of mine from AM VETS Post #7 went there last Friday night and when I asked how everything was “Thy have good Pineapple” was his ONLY response.

  25. Frank J Witt says:

    Alright, some info from the owner. I had a wonderful conversation with her and a family member that drives here 1/2 the week to help out. The video above is from a Wednesday night which is College Night…something they dread but they make a good deal of money doing. This is NOT ow the place looks during the weekends. She said the reason for the change comes from a lack of support for Indian style food but also admitted that turn over in the kitchen had hurt them. They now re fully staffed with the last of the full-time people starting Saturday night. They have been upgrading their kitchen and tweaking the menu to reflect the new direction she hopes will work better.

    I am very convinced that she and her help appreciate all the local customers they get and she really enjoys interacting with you. Please do not let the video dissuade you from giving the new menu a try. Hell, you will probably run into me there as well. I told them as soon as I can scape together some free time I will be there.

  26. Frank J Witt says:

    Alright ! ! Full belly from BSOM and I must be partial and tel you it was delicious. Salad bar needs some help but the Cajun Shrimp Pasta was very good. They also had Seasoned Ribs and Cajun Chicken. Both were very good as were the sides of Roasted Potatoes and Spicy Seasoned Veggies. 1 beer for Barb and a Sweet Tea for me completed the buffet and all for $15.51. As for the regular menu, we didn’t look but the sandwiches that were fed to the patrons at the bar were HUGE and overstuffed with food.

    They are staring a Brunch Menu sometime soon starting @ 10 am and running thru 3 pm. Open seating is somewhat enjoyable because there were adults there but I might not enjoy if it the were children about.

    Lastly, they might need some waitstaff help but I don’t know for sure. Only 1 waitress while we were there to take care of maybe 30 people…

  27. Josh says:

    A friend and I checked it out last weekend and had a mixed experience: the jambalaya was decent, the gumbo was not. In fact the restaurant asked us what was wrong when they saw the nearly full plate left on the table. To their credit, they comped the gumbo, so we’d definitely be willing to give them another try.

  28. Frank J Witt says:

    Yeah Josh, hopefully the newest staff in the kitchen have corrected the problems…

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