The Chef-Owner Behind DesiPDX Is Opening a Gluten-Free Indian Brunch Restaurant This Summer

Masala Lab + Market will serve traditional Indian breakfast food along with Indian takes on classic American dishes.

The owner of popular North Mississippi Avenue food cart DesiPDX is opening a brick-and-mortar that will pump out even more modern Indian dishes.

Masala Lab + Market is scheduled to open mid-July in the former Horn of Africa space at 5237 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The gluten-free brunch spot will feature a blend of traditional Indian breakfast food along with Indian takes on classic American dishes. Sure, you could call it fusion, but it’s more fun to think of the menu as chef-owner Deepak Saxena finding a way to explore his culinary whims.

That means you’ll come across everything from a BLT made with ghee, tomato chutney and house-spiced bacon to a Southern staple, shrimp and grits, melded with South Asian flavors in the form of coconut milk polenta and shrimp tikka mole to a waffle-Indian spiced fritter mashup, served (optionally) alongside fried chicken or mushrooms.

“Authenticity to me is something that expresses a combination of time, place, and lived experience,” Saxena stated in a press release. “The food we serve at all my businesses is the most authentic expression of my experience as a first generation immigrant who has traveled the world and grew up in multiple countries.”

Masala Lab will eventually roll out an Indian-inspired pastry program. Brunch service runs 8 am to 3 pm Thursday through Sunday. Look for dinner hours to be added this fall, along with a market that will carry housemade spice blends and sauces as well as grab-and-go meals.