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Meet the man behind Ten Downing Street, Nagpur

In an interview with Nation Next, Varun Sapkal, speaks about the reason behind coming up with TDS, his venture - the pure-veg restaurant Amaira and more.
Varun Sapkal

A decade back, many people complained about Nagpur not having enough chilled out pubs or classy restrobars. That fact, left most of the Nagpurians with a recurring question – ‘Where do I take my friend from a metro city to hang out in Nagpur?’ At a time when pubs and restrobars were not very much in vogue in the Orange city, a young Nagpurian took a risk and the pub Ten Downing Street (TDS) was started in Nagpur. Over the years TDS, Nagpur has become one of the most popular places in the city. In a relaxed interview with Nation Next, Varun Sapkal, the man behind TDS, Nagpur speaks about the reason behind coming up with TDS in Nagpur, his other venture – the pure-veg restaurant Amaira – and his experiences pertaining to the food industry in Nagpur.


You came up with the pub – 10 Downing Street (TDS) in April 2007. It was a time when there were very few pubs in Nagpur. What motivated you to come up with TDS?

It was when I was 22, I decided to start TDS in Nagpur. While studying hotel management in Pune, I realised that Nagpur did not have a chilled out place with a soothing ambience and a classy décor for celebrations. Now, in western countries, a pub is considered to be a highly sophisticated place with soft music where people meet after their work to have dinner, drinks and to relax. But in India, people consider a pub to be a public utility bar. So, we thought of this British concept. We thought of introducing Indian delicacies of our liking and choice, with drinks and exquisite surroundings, so that Nagpurians can enjoy and have a nice time. The prime location of 10 Downing Street with ample parking space further worked in our favour.

Pubs are usually known for the loud parties they host. But TDS has always maintained a soft music and fine dine ambience. Did you make conscious efforts for the same?

A pub generally has loud music, dingy lights and absolute chaos. Ironically, we never saw that happening at TDS from day one and fortunately we managed to maintain the decorum of our pub. Initially, we had a lot of young customers, so we maintained the ambience according to their preference. Now that we have more of a family crowd, we have moulded ourselves according to their taste. ?When in Rome, do as the Romans do? is what I have realised in the last few years. I’m very happy with the way we operate rather than lending my place for parties, as it ultimately leads to damage of property, exceeding permitted time limits and chaos. In spite of 10 Downing Street being a pub, we do not have the reputation of being a noisy and unruly place. Moreover, unlike other cities, Nagpur has to shut its pubs before 12 am. Neither can we extend the time nor does the crowd here demands the same.

Over the period of almost ten years, have you see a change in the kind of people coming to TDS?

When we ventured into this business, we had the elite young crowd as our customers. Of late, we have witnessed a sudden change in the pattern of customers visiting the pub. Families occupy the restaurant more than the young crowd now. Moreover, lot many people who were regulars at TDS have moved out of Nagpur. Many students as well visit TDS but of late they have become very money conscious.

What made you come up with Amaira – a pure veg restaurant? Is it true that in Nagpur, vegetarian food business makes more sense than non-vegetarian food business

In Nagpur, vegetarian food is absolutely more in demand as compared to non-vegetarian food. Amaira was my fathers idea and his dream. Just like TDS, Amaira too has a location benefit. There was a time when Amaira was doing much better than 10 Downing Street. It was the business research which we did for Amaira which made it a successful venture for us.

With two restaurants of yours in Nagpur ? 10 Downing Street and Amaira, you can be termed as a serial restaurateur. Does it make more business sense to have multiple entities in food business 

Yes, it does. I even owned the Hyderabad House restaurant, which was a take away eatery. Unfortunately I had to shut it down as I was incurring losses. In a city like Nagpur, roti sells more as compared to rice. Nagpurians don’t find a biryani more than Rs 100 pocket friendly! They want the typical taste of biryani with mattha. We tried our best to make the biryani authentic and genuine in taste, but the venture failed. Food industry is all about trial and error. One can’t expect success at every step in life. Sometimes you learn things the hard way and Hyderabad House was a learning lesson for me.

What drove you to create multiple ventures in the food industry?

Demand is something, which has always motivated me. It’s said that On the top of the pyramid, only one person can reach and stand. If you don’t do it someone else will do it. When there were opportunities with good resources available, I just grabbed the opportunities and today I’m what I’m. It was always because of my instincts and gut feeling. Having said that, I believe that one shouldn’t take careless risks; one should always be calculative and well researched.

How do you respond to the general perception that Nagpurians don’t appreciate anything new in food Do you see Nagpur opening up to new brands and concepts in food industry?

If Nagpurians like a particular food item at my restaurant, they would definitely the place again. Now is the right time to re-invest in food industry. I’m against the concept of blogs and reviews on Facebook because they are totally biased. Because, if somebody has any kind personal problem with me, they take revenge by bringing a bad name to my restaurants.

What’s your success mantra?

I have always believed that innovation is the key to success. Many attempts were made by our competitors to outperform us but they did not succeed. We have kept interesting offers for our customers over the years. For e.g., if a person is 60 years old; he is entitled to a 60% discount! When we started our operations, Nagpur was emerging as a corporate hub which accelerated our turnover. In a few months, 10 Downing Street was on everybodys mind. If an entrepreneur keeps reinventing himself by providing value-based activities, it will increase his goodwill and credibility. That’s my success mantra.

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Nagpur News

RMBRCN celebrates Charter Presentation & Installation, Rina Sinha becomes Charter President



The Rotary Means Business chapter of Rotary Club Of Nagpur (RMBRCN) celebrated their Charter Presentation and Installation of Board on September 17, 2023 in a crisp official ceremony at Hotel Centre Point, Nagpur.

Rotary Means Business encourages Rotarians to support the success of their fellow Rotarians by doing business with them and by referring others to them.

Charter President Past President Rtn Rina Sinha presided over the ceremony. Renowned entrepreneur and Rotarian Aspi Bapuna, Chairman of Bapuna Group, was the Chief Guest and  Rtn Namita Sharma, President of RCN, was the Guest of Honour.

The Board of Directors of RMBRCN include Rtn Navneet Jain, Vice President, Rtn Mohammed Master, Honorary Secretary, Rtn Sanjay Aggarwal Treasurer, Rtn Rakhi Bhatia Director Chapter Service, Rtn Rahul Shrivastava, Director Vocational Service, Dr Ruchi Choudhry, Director Membership Development, Ranjana Duseja, Director Attendance.

Past Rotary District Governor (PDG) Shabbir Shakir, Past Presidents- Bharat Goenka , Khushnoor Chugh, Sanjiv Chugh, Akhtar Parvez, Tejinder Singh Rawal, Alok Goenka,  Jerestine Watchmaker, Sandeep Dhodapkar, Sanjay Arora, President RMB Nagpur, and Behram Patel and Amitabh Sinha were present.

President Rina Sinha informed that within a short period of its formation already 48 members representing various businesses  have joined the chapter and the numbers are increasing . The Chapter has already crossed 5 crores of business amongst their members and RMB will further strengthen Rotary in membership growth and retention .

Chief Guest Rtn Aspi Bapuna lauded the chapter’s success and reiterated that its comfortable and safe to do business among fellow rotarians as all follow the Four Way Test of Rotary. Jerestine introduced President Rina. Aspi Bapuna  presented the charter and installed President Rina Sinha . Rtn Namita congratulated the RMB chapter and informed that this is the new initiative at RCN.The Board was installed by Rina Sinha and all members were installed by the Past Presidents. An exclusive digital Monthly Magazine ‘Growth Engine’ was launched by Editor Niharika Chugh Vali.

 Navneet Jain and Rahul Choudhry conducted the referral and thank you session where enthusiastic members informed about their successful business details. Nishchay Sinha launched the social media and MYRMB app which connects members to other chapters digitally, Treasurer Sanjay Agarwal gave treasurers report, Rtn Rakhi Bhatia managed the event. Rtn Parag Datey and Niharika were the Masters of Ceremony (MOCs). Secretary Mohammed Master proposed the formal Vote of Thanks .

Also read: Jayaswal Neco group celebrate BL Shaw’s 90th Birthday, 50th Founder’s Day in a huge gala event in Nagpur

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Nagpur News

Nitin Gadkari inaugurates double-decker electric bus availed for senior citizens in Nagpur



Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, on Saturday, inaugurated the double-decker electric bus designed for senior citizens in Nagpur. The initiative has been undertaken in association with Ashok Leyland’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Committee and Jyeshtha Nagarik Pratishthan.

Executive President of Jyeshtha Nagarik Pratishthan Datta Meghe, Vice Chairman of Ashok Leyland Limited Yash Sachar, CEO of Switch Mobility Mahesh Babu, and other dignitaries were present during the inauguration.

“I am very thankful to Ashok Leyland’s electric vehicle arm ‘Switch Mobility’ for donating an electric bus for our senior citizens. The bus can hold a capacity of 65 people and will benefit a lot to disabled and senior citizens,” Gadkari said.

“We already have a green Electra bus available to us for the past five to six years. Krishna Reddy has taken the responsibility of repairing and providing air-conditioning to the bus, moreover, he is providing us with one additional bus. A Tata Motor bus will be arriving this month as well, giving us a total of four buses to operate. This will solve the issue of waiting list due to the lack of buses for senior citizens in the city.” he added.

With the help of these buses, senior citizens can avail the benefit of free trips to religious places like Ambhora, Adasa, Shegaon, Mahur, Dhapewada, and Kalamb.

Also read: NMC confiscates 117 PoP idols, collects Rs 10,000 fine from seller


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Nagpur News

Nagpur: Married man accused of girlfriend’s rape commits suicide on Facebook live



A 38-year-old married man named Manish alias Raj Yadav, on Sunday, committed suicide during a Facebook live-stream after allegedly being accused of rape by his girlfriend and her family in Nagpur.

During the live stream, Manish, who was married and a father to three children, stated that his 19-year-old girlfriend, Kajal, along with her family members demanded a sum of five lakh rupees and threatened to press charges of rape if he failed to do so.

On September 6, the situation became grave as the woman’s family accused him of eloping after Kajal went missing from her residence.

The deceased refused the claims of having any sexual relationship with the woman and identified her, her family, and a photo studio operator responsible for his condition. He, then, jumped into the river.

After the live video surfaced online, Kalamna Police launched a search operation and recovered the deceased’s body from the river. Four people have been detained in the case for questioning. Further investigation is underway.

Also read: NMC confiscates 117 PoP idols, collects Rs 10,000 fine from seller

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