When one thinks of authentic Hyderabadi biryani in the city, it brings to mind the Alpha Hotel. Yo! Vizag speaks to the owner to find out all about the restaurant.
A neon sign proudly proclaims to specialise in Hyderabadi Biryani at the Jagadamba Junction, Vizag. Always packed with customers, Alpha Hotel has been the go-to for anyone craving some authentic dum biryani that will also offer them a generous side of nostalgia. The hotel has been providing such authenticity since 2001 and no one really seems to mind the understaffed service or the ambiance of the place.
Set up by Ali Reza, his younger brother Hashim Reza and their cousin Ramzan Ali, the trio migrated here from Hyderabad 16 years ago. Ramzan Ali who manages the hotel now says, “I believe setting up a restaurant at Vizag was written in our destiny. We have always loved the peace and quiet this city offers.”
Growing up, the brothers would help their family out at their restaurants. Ali Reza and Ramzan Ali completed their intermediate and began working at the restaurants full-time. Hashim Reza on the other hand, finished his B.Com. and went on to become the President of the All India Arm Wrestling Federation.
It was only after working for a considerable amount of time and gaining proper experience that they believed they should set up on their own. The legendary Alpha Hotel opposite the railway station at Secunderabad is also owned by the family. So when the brothers wanted to branch out, they realised there was no better name for their restaurant than this. The name has become so popular now that despite this being their only branch in Visakhapatnam, the city is filled with numerous counterfeits.
“I believe setting up a restaurant at Visakhapatnam was written in our destiny. We have always loved the peace and quiet this city offers.”
The Alpha Hotel accommodates 30-40 customers at a time technically, but the crowd that comes in seems to be much more than that. “We have a unique method of preparing our biryanis. Dum biryani with flavourful slow-cooked rice and meat is the selling point of our hotel. The fact that we’re one amongst the few in the city who cook biryani in an authentic manner is what brings in customers,” says Ramzan Ali.
Tough competition is something that Alpha Hotel isn’t new to. But the refreshing attitude these brothers carry about it is worth appreciation. “Every business has its ups and downs and we’ve always had competition. A lot of malls and restaurants have been set up in the city in the recent past, making it tough. But Vizag has been kind to us and we have loyal customers who keep coming back to the restaurant,” they say.
Through the years, Alpha Hotel has only seen an increase in their customer base. While initially, it was only adults coming through, now young and old, all flock to the restaurant with equal gusto. “It is our good fortune that our customers keep increasing by the day,” says Ramzan Ali. When asked about what the future holds for Alpha Hotel they say, “If the restaurant is well taken care of by our future generations and its popularity keeps increasing, there’s nothing else that we need.”