Red Hot Chilli Pepper hosts ribbon cutting ceremony


Katie Pach/Daily Senior Staffer

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) (middle), Steve Hagerty (left) and Ramakant Kharel (right) cut a ribbon at Red Hot Chilli Pepper, 500 Davis St. At the ceremony, guests were served a buffet lunch and watched a dance performance by Northwestern Bhangra.

Syd Stone, City Editor

The owner of Red Hot Chilli Pepper hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday to celebrate a new Indo-Chinese restaurant that opened several months ago in downtown Evanston.

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Evanston mayor Steve Hagerty attended the ceremony, where guests were served a buffet lunch and watched a dance performance by Northwestern Bhangra.

The restaurant, 500 Davis St., is owner Ramakant Kharel’s second restaurant in the city, and he said it is the city’s first Indo-Chinese restaurant. He also owns Mt. Everest Restaurant, 630 Church St.

“Evanston is (a) very diverse market,” he said in May 2016 after receiving committee approval to open the restaurant. “The clientele are very educated and would like to try something exciting, new. And this kind of cuisine never been introduced … I think it will be a very successful concept and my current customers are excited, positive and supportive.”

Hagerty said his family “likes the color red, they like hot, they like chili and they like peppers,” so they will be eating at the new restaurant.

Schakowsky said Monday she wanted to attend the restaurant’s ribbon cutting because she appreciates all that Kharel does for the Evanston community.

“When there are disasters around the world, when people need help, (he’s there),” she said. “He’s also just such a treasure for our community and for the world community.”

Evanston’s economic development manager Paul Zalmezak attended the ceremony and said after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, Kharel hosted a fundraiser at Mt. Everest Restaurant.

“He just gives to the community,” Zalmezak said, adding that Kharel has always been a “big supporter” of Evanston.

Kharel said he appreciates all of the “love” the Evanston community has shown to him and his businesses over the years.

Hagerty said he and his family frequents Mt. Everest and that he is “so proud” of Kharel for opening his second restaurant in Evanston.

“Thank you so much for making the investment that you’re making in Evanston,” Hagerty said to Kharel at the event. “The city is working hard to make investments.”

Zalmezak said Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s location on the east end of Davis Street is “a little quieter,” so he hopes the new restaurant will “bring a little life to it” and add more energy to the end of the block.

The addition of Red Hot Chilli Pepper to Evanston is “wonderful,” Schakowsky said.

“We see Mt. Everest and how wonderful it is and now we have this wonderful restaurant, so we thank you for your entrepreneurship for making this happen, for making Evanston even better and a little hotter,” she said.

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