Hakka Bakka, in colloquial Hindi means stunned or awestruck. And new Chicago-based concept Hakka Bakka wants customers to be awestruck by flavors, or even flavor-struck.
The food is prepared fresh daily, and the chutneys and marinades are made in house from fresh ingredients. The brand uses no artificial colors or flavors.The flatbreads (parathas) are also fresh to order. No other Indian fast-casual restaurant in Chicago does that; in fact there are no other dedicated Kati Roll places in Chicago.
The kati roll is a pan-seared unleavened bread that is made with 100-percent durum wheat, layered with an egg (optional), filled with a choice of meat or protein. Guests can choose a roll, rice bowl, or a salad bowl with choice of proteins like lamb, chicken, or artisan cheese, which is called paneer in India. Preparations include Tikka, which is a flavorful yet spicy preparation, the Hariyali, which is prepared using fresh mint and cilantro, and Reshmi, which uses cream, garlic, and poppy seeds. Add the house-made chutneys to add a little extra zing.
Chutneys and sauces include: Red chili chutney, tamarind chutney, cilantro chutney, as well as the savory yogurt sauce. The brand recently added the chickpea tikka and Hariyali option, which is a vegan’s delight. The Masala fries with cilantro mayo are also a favorite. By popular demand, Hakka Bakka also introduced the Mango Lassi, which is a yogurt-based mango drink.
Hakka Bakka opened doors on September 30, 2015.
Owner Kaushik Guha started his culinary journey back in school days in India when he lived in Kolkata. Whenever he needed a quick snack to satiate himself he would turn to the ubiquitous kati roll. Years rolled by and Kaushik moved through various cities in India and the U.S. and finally arrived in Chicago; gathering his gourmet food experiences across continents. Over the years he has been cooking fantastic meals for his family and friends. By this time he wrapped up an MBA, finished a CPA, and worked at EY as an economic consultant spending 60 hours a week wading through spreadsheets and number crunching.
The defining moment came when on a trip back to the majestic city of Kolkata he reconnected with his college sweetheart, Swetha, and now wife and together they rediscovered their joy for the kati rolls that Kaushik grew up and Swetha came to love. Swetha had eight solid years working in advertising for some of the largest companies in the world. With Swetha’s wholehearted support, Kaushik quit his day job, and together they put together a business plan, developed the recipes, and raised capital to finally bring you this burgeoning global food phenomenon, the kati roll, through Hakka Bakka.