2022 D.C.-Chesapeake Concept Restaurateurs Sahil Rahman and Rahul Vinod of RASA

2022 D.C.-Chesapeake Concept Restaurateurs Sahil Rahman and Rahul Vinod of RASA

RASA
1247 First St. SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
rasagrill.com

Sahil Rahman and Rahul Vinod’s story begins with their fathers nearly 40 years ago. Surfy Rahman and K.N. Vinod met working at the same hotel while studying hospitality in India and in 1992, the two friends reconnected to open Bombay Bistro in Rockville, Maryland. With K.N. in the kitchen and Surfy working the front of house, the restaurant was a huge success and 10 years later, they opened a second restaurant, Indique, in Washington, D.C.

Spending their childhood at Bombay Bistro and Indique, Sahil and Rahul began to ask themselves how they could make Indian food more accessible without stripping it down. While attending the University of Maryland, Sahil had dreams of opening a casual Indian concept of his own. He interned at Outback Steakhouse in Southeast Asia and briefly worked at Uncle Julio’s Mexican Grill. But with a gentle nudge from his father, Sahil quickly realized that he needed more experience and capital to open a restaurant. So, Sahil got a job as a consultant for Deloitte and followed Rahul to New York City where, after four years of investment banking, he was feeling unfulfilled. They quit their jobs in 2014 and made a game plan to finally open the fast casual restaurant they’d been dreaming of. 

It took three years of fundraising, brand development, and Chef K.N.'s culinary boot camp before Sahil and Rahul opened their first location of RASA in the Navy Yard. Since then, they have opened a second location in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood of D.C., followed by a third in Arlington, Virginia. With a colorful design symbolizing the nine “rasas,” or human emotions, each location features approachable adaptations of Chef K.N.’s original Indian dishes, scooped together in a pre-set or build-your-own-bowl.