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RESTAURANT SPOTLIGHT: Raja Rani is Canton’s (partially) hidden gem

 RESTAURANT SPOTLIGHT: Raja Rani is Canton’s (partially) hidden gem

Raja Rani Indian Restaurant is located at 45172 Ford Road.

Friends and business partners, Dinesh Nagappan, Edward Maben and Saravanan Rethinasamy’s efforts to turn Canton’s Raja Rani Indian Restaurant into a must-visit eatery have been successful, for the most part.

Raja Rani earned a nomination as one of the township’s top 10 restaurants at last fall’s Canton People’s Choice Awards — and the business’s online reviews have been stellar since the trio purchased the restaurant in 2022.

Now, the always-hustling entrepreneurs are on a mission to get more southeast-Michigan residents to try the restaurant’s delicious fare — a somewhat tall order given its location is set about 50 yards south of Ford Road in Canton.

“If we were right on Ford Road, that would be amazing because our visibility would be so much better,” said Maben, discussing the No. 1 obstacle facing Raja Rani.

“A lot of people don’t know we’re here — or they’ll stop in and say, ‘Oh, you’re open? I thought you were closed’ because they remember when the former owners shut it down.

A lot to love

“The people who do know about us, love us. For example, we have regulars who drive from Kalamazoo every two weeks to attend one of the Canton temples. They tell us coming to Raja Rani is an event for them.”

Raja Rani owners Edward Maben Dinesh Nagappan and Saravanan Rethinasamy
Raja Rani owners Edward Maben Dinesh Nagappan and Saravanan Rethinasamy

All longtime, passionate achievers in the restaurant industry, Nagappan, Maben and Rethinasamy have developed a vast and versatile menu that is loaded with south Indian delicacies.

“Everything we serve is high-quality and delicious,” said Nagappan. “We encourage people to try something different every time they stop in. I’d say our butter chicken is the most popular menu item, but, again, our customers always enjoy whatever they order.”

When they took over the struggling business in 2022, the owners retained the name Raja Rani, which translates into king and queen in the Indian culture.

That’s fitting considering multiple online reviews of the restaurant consist of comments regarding how the reviewers were treated like kings and queens during their dining experience.

“We take pride in the hospitality we provide,” said Maben. “Our customers often tell us how much they appreciate our kindness — and the quality of our food.”

Noticeable upgrades

Raja Rani’s owners have invested in upgrades to their facility — including the addition of booths that line the south wall of the 1,700-square-foot property.

An interior view of the renovated Raja Rani dining space
An interior view of the renovated Raja Rani dining space

“The old owners simply had tables and chairs,” he added. “We put in the booths for our customers who aren’t comfortable sitting in a chair.”

They also added a stunning wall-wide mural that depicts scenes from Indian culture.

For customers who may not have time to sit down and eat a meal, Raja Rani offers take-out luncheon specials, including a family pack biryani.

“The restaurant industry is very competitive, so we never stop hustling,” said Nagappan, who has earned multiple college degrees in marketing and restaurant-related fields.

Catering options

Raja Rani also offers catering for special events — graduation parties and house-warming get-togethers to name two, Nagappan said — and weekend specials that change every week.

“We also offer buffets for special events like Mother’s Day,” Maben added.

They’re doing everything in their power to grow their base of customers.

And if they had the ability to move their restaurant 50 yards closer to Ford Road, they’d no doubt do that as well.

To check out Raja Rani’s menu, visit its website here.

Ed Wright can be reached at 734-664-4657 or edwright@socialhousenews.com.

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Ed Wright

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