I’ll be honest, Vimala Rajendran looked a bit tired. Not in a hungover, unshowered, Post-P-Bob’s-night kind of way with which we are all acquainted. No, Vimala had the rare look of someone who has been busting tail to create something out of nothing, putting in God knows how many hours to keep a burgeoning young business afloat.Vimala has managed to take her loves of social justice and community and create an eatery that is also a charitable force.
Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe, right here in Chapel Hill, is her brainchild. Born and raised in Bombay, Vimala has been a proud Orange County resident for 25 years and never once thought she would be a restaurant owner, despite her expert culinary skills. And to be honest, she really hasn’t opened a restaurant, in the classic sense at least.
The start-up restaurant business is as cutthroat as they come, with ambitious new owners being incredibly stingy, protecting their establishment like a mother and child. Every penny is pinched.
In the early 1990’s, Vimala was a single mother, facing increasing financial trouble and a hungry family to feed. Her rent was unpayable. She was drowning under a growing pile of bills.
But she found her reprieve — how else — through food. Taking on an almost Fight Club-esque persona, Vimala organized weekly community dinners in her home, feeding close friends from the neighborhood.