Meet ‘Dosa Mama’, Chennai’s very own variety dosa entrepreneur

Shivani Ramakrishnan
Dosa Mama, Chennai Dosa, Chennai Dosa Shop

Dosa Mama runs his business on his own from 5.30 pm to 9.30 pm every day. (Express Photo: Shivani Ramakrishnan)

It is 5:30 in the evening and as Chennai residents make their way home after a long day at work, the smell of crisp dosas (rice pancakes) greets them in West Mambalam — V Ravichandran, or Dosa Mama, is setting up his shop.

Ravichandran's eatery, Bharathi Evening Tiffin Centre, also known as 'Dosa Mama shop', is known for its 25 varieties of dosas, all sold for Rs 40.

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Speaking to Indianexpress.com, Ravichandran, who hails from Perambalur, said, “I have been living in Chennai for the past 20 years. I used to work in hotels and in catering businesses, after which I decided to set up my own venture. I started off by making dosas and idlis (rice cakes) and moved on to making variety dosas. Today, I sell close to 200 dosas a day. I like it and business is doing really well.”

Ravichandran opened his shop nine years ago in West Mambalam. The 25 dosas that he offers are changed every few months. Right from the traditional ghee dosa and podi dosa to the experimental garlic dosa and tomato dosa, Dosa Mama makes them all under three minutes and serves them hot with a dollop of chutney and sambhar.

Dosa Mama, Chennai Dosa, Chennai Dosa Shop

The menu in Tamil announcing the different varieties of dosas. (Express Photo: Shivani Ramakrishnan)

“I only make South Indian varieties of dosa. The most popular are the garlic dosa followed by mixed vegetable dosa. I do not add onion to any of the dosas," said Dosa Mama.

Most customers visiting the shop order one garlic dosa in addition to their other orders, given that it is both tasty and healthy. A lot of customers come from as far as Taramani and KK Nagar to take parcels from Dosa Mama’s shop.

“I live in KK Nagar and I have been buying dosas from here for the past six months. I heard about the shop after a friend from Bangalore sent me a video on WhatsApp. My daughter loves the dosas here," said Subramaniam, a customer.

The dosas are served and parcelled in the traditional plantain leaf-covered plates, cutting down on the use of plastic.

While Dosa Mama runs the shop from 5.30 pm to 9.30 pm, it is his wife who prepares the batter for him. “The amount of batter used every day varies, but at the end of the day, there are no leftovers," he said.

Dosa Mama, Chennai Dosa, Chennai Dosa Shop

The dosas here attract huge crowds, chief among them being families. (Express Photo: Shivani Ramakrishnan)

Asked if he would like to tie up with food delivery apps, Dosa Mama said: "This is more than enough for me."

Ravichandran, however, said the dosa shop will most likely be wrapped up after him — both his sons are vedic scholars, unlikely to take up the business.