One must’ve noticed the nondescript shop, near Vizag Central, doling out freshly made samosas and jalebis as the sun sets. Yo! Vizag finds out the story behind the shop – Gautam Bhavan.
Gautam Bhavan was first introduced to the city in 1977. Yet, it is only known to those few who couldn’t care less about the ambience and have an extra special fondness for food. It was the late Ramesh Chandra Gautam who moved to Visakhapatnam to expand the ‘Gautam Bhavan’ chain.
“We’re from Mathura but our family has been settled in South India since 80 years. We had already set up Gautam Bhavan in the then Madras constituency and Hyderabad, so expanding to Visakhapatnam was the next obvious step. It was a practical decision from a business point-of-view,” says his son Swarup Gautam. While Gautam Bhavan doesn’t have any branches left, the one in Visakhapatnam is still going strong in the able hands of Swarup Gautam and his brother.
Swarup had been working with his late father for as long as he can remember. This is the only life he has ever wished to have and the only life he has ever known. He says, “Growing up, me and my brothers couldn’t even focus on our education as we just wanted to learn from our father and be able enough to run the shop someday.” All through his schooling, it was here that Swarup worked and after his graduation, it was the shop that he returned to. Learning the ropes from his father on how to run the business successfully came naturally to Swarup.
Back when Gautam Bhavan was established, Sivarama Sweets and Chandu Sweets were the only quality shops that Vizagites flocked to. Swarup rues that the competition has gone up now, but believes his shop’s authentic taste is what still draws in the people. Gautam Bhavan still offers the authentic menu it offered back in 1977 – be it a wide array of sweets ranging from motichoor laddu to rajbhog or the North and South Indian food they offer from breakfast to dinner. People who order their fare for weddings and parties still remain the shop’s main source of income.
When asked what his future plans hold and if he’s thought of setting up a proper restaurant or café, Swarup says, “We are fine where we are and haven’t thought of anything beyond this shop. The only aim now is to keep the existing customers happy and keep this shop afloat.”