A mini hand cart to a famous Bandra landmark: Story of Mumbai's ELCO Pani Puri Center
When it comes to Mumbai, there is no shortage of rags-to-riches stories. After all, the Maximum City is where people from across the country come to make it big, in their respective fields. The tale of the ELCO Pani Puri Center, which began as a small handheld cart in 1968, is one such intriguing story.
Today, the ELCO Pani Puri Center is a famous Bandra landmark. Over the decades, that one small cart turned into two carts before the owner bought a shop in the area. Eventually, the eatery acquired the upper floors as well and it now stands as a full-fledged restaurant, that attracts everyone from the commoners to Bollywood celebrities!
The Origin Story
The small cart, which is now the ELCO Pani Puri Center, was started by Mr. Mohandas Bhagnani. His parents arrived in Bombay after the partition in 1947, leaving everything behind in Pakistan. Buoyed by his entrepreneurial instincts and the spirit to build something of his own, Mr. Bhagnani decided to set up a pani puri stall right outside the famous ELCO market.
But this pani puri stall was not like the countless stalls one saw in Mumbai. This stall's speciality was the crunchy Sindhi puris, a flavourful variety of spices, and the fact that he used bottled water to serve his pani puris. In fact, his dedication to hygiene was unlike what people in Mumbai had ever seen, especially at a small fast-food stall. Naturally, Mumbaikars flocked to Mr. Bhagnani's stall.
Gradually, the nameless stall began to be known as the 'ELCO Pani Puri vaala'. And as the business grew, Mr. Bhagnani decided to call it the ELCO Pani Puri Center. Cut to today, the Pani Puri Center has become more famous, than the market from which it got its name!
Consistency in Taste; Retained Perfection in Hygiene
Over the last five decades, the ELCO Pani Puri Center has undergone enormous transformations. But one thing has stayed the same throughout - its authentic taste and the relentless focus on hygiene. To make sure that its serves the same old taste to its customers, the Paani Puri Center buys the raw materials from the same suppliers, who were appointed back then!
The menu at ELCO Pani Puri Center has also expanded. Starting from just pani puri, this famous Bandra eatery now serves a range of vegetarian treats, like dahi batata puri, dahi raj kachori, pav bhaji, and chole bhature.
Whatever one chooses to eat at the ELCO Pani Puri Center, every bite comes with the delicious aftertaste of Mumbai's history. The place is frequented by pani puri lovers from across the city and tourists willing to try street food delights in Mumbai.
Where: A-1, Hill Rd, Patkar Blocks, Bandra West, Mumbai
Timings: 10 AM - 11:30 PM