Business Buzz – December 2018

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To send items for consideration, email O’Loskey at business.orinda@gmail.com.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Amrit Lal and Renu Bala Sharma, owners of Saffron Indian Restaurant & Bar in Theatre Square, invite you to try their authentic slow-cooked dishes, spiced to your liking.

Saffron Indian Restaurant and Bar Opens in Theatre Square
    Lovers of authentic Indian food finally have a local restaurant owned and operated by a family dedicated to creating a dining experience sure to hold their interest. Just getting through the 10-page menu will take more than one visit to Saffron Indian Restaurant and Bar (Saffron). There are both Northern and Southern Indian dishes, vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options, salads, live fresh juices, lunch specials and two kids’ menus along with the usual appetizers, chicken, seafood, soups and Australian lamb dishes. Everything is made fresh each day; nothing is reheated.
    Sachin Kumar Sharma moved to California in 2016 to work as a software engineer with large companies but discovered he could not do without his family. At his request, they all moved to California. Sachin’s father Amrit Lal Sharma said, “Find something for me to do; I cannot just be idle.” Amrit had been a professional chef in the U.S. since 1991 in Boston and Cambridge, mainly at India Pavilion in Central Square Cambridge. To say Amrit would love being the chef in his own family-owned restaurant is an understatement; thus, the idea of Saffron was born.
    In case you wonder why it took over a year for them to open, issues between the previous parties involved with the location combined with permit applications took time to resolve. Sachin began looking for a suitable location in Lamorinda in April, 2017. The family settled on Orinda because there was no other Indian restaurant here, and they liked the reputation of the town as friendly and filled with food lovers. Sachin recalls spending time standing outside Orinda Theatre asking passersby if they would enjoy an Indian restaurant in Orinda. The answer was a resounding “Yes!”
    When Saffron first opened Oct. 11, wait times for Amrit’s slow-cooking method dishes were too long for the average diner. Avid problem solvers, the family called in experts who advised adding burners in the kitchen, identifying menu items that are done quickly, and coming up with other improvements such as discounted quick lunch menu items like chicken tikka masala wraps. Sachin and Amrit found a contractor to transform the kitchen that was expected to be in use by early December.
    Family members (now business partners) who came together from the four corners of the earth to give their all to make Saffron hum include Chef Amrit Lal Sharma, his wife Renu Bala Sharma, who prepares many dishes including vegetables and desserts, their son and daughter-in-law Sachin Kumar and Rubina Sharma, their daughter Vandana Pathak, and Sachin’s brother-in-law Ravikant Pathak. All family members live in El Sobrante.
    Stop by to meet the family and sample the menu and full bar options. You will find complimentary poppadoms at your table. So far, more than half their business is repeat diners. Locals return for chicken tikka masala, garlic nan, lamb Rogan josh, dosas at lunchtime, tandoori shrimp or chicken (marinated in yogurt), chicken biryani (organic chicken served with basmati rice, bell peppers, spices, green peas, onions, nuts and raita). Try gulab jamun, a traditional Indian dessert consisting of dumplings made with khoya served hot in rose-scented syrup sprinkled with coconut.
    Saffron is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch Tuesday through Sunday, and from 5 p.m. to 8:30 – 9 p.m. every day for dinner. Also, look for a Happy Hour bar and food menu. The restaurant is at 2 Theatre Square #153, Orinda, 925-217-1211.

ELANA O’LOSKEY
BASU.com co-fournder Shub Basu holds the company’s new eAlarmGPS in front of their Orinda office. The device provides 24/7 stand-alone monitoring as a portable personal alarm, criminal deterrent, acoustic animal repellent and rescue signal.

BASU.COM Start-Up Debuts IoT Product Huffington Post Calls “… brilliant but simple invention.”
    BASU.COM is a consumer electronics startup specializing in “IoT” products to keep you mobile. An Orinda location opened in 2015. The “Internet of Things” is a term used to describe the coupling of devices (other than computers and smart phones) connected to the Internet. Examples are cars, consumer electronics such as kitchen appliances, safety devices and even heart monitors, i.e., objects that “talk” to each other.
    The company’s best-selling personal alarm – a new concept for many – hit the U.S. market in 2015. Nicknamed the “sound grenade,” it was described as the world’s smallest SOS alarm. It was featured on The Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford as well as Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.
    Dr. Shub Basu, co-founder, is the Chief Technical Officer because of his 20 years of experience in hardware, semiconductors and product development/product management. He has worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies and co-founded Lyk2Buy.com. Basu lives with his family in San Francisco. Co-founder and CEO Sam Mansen, Captain, USAF, served as a top performing officer and has an MBA from UMass. Mansen recently moved to Seattle to open the newest BASU office.
    They moved offices to Orinda from Oakland for several reasons, explains Basu: “It’s quieter than a downtown city location with fewer distractions; we are in close proximity to S.F. and Oakland; are well connected to business partners like USPS/FedEx/UPS; and it’s within walking distance of BART.” They also like the fact that there are students doing homework in the coffee shops, a welcoming sight. “We’re serious about how we conduct our business and the environment in Orinda supports that,” says Basu. To show their appreciation to the community, BASU recently donated 100 eAlarms to The Orinda Association’s Seniors Around Town program. They fit on a key ring and at 120 decibels work as a portable personal alarm, criminal deterrent and acoustic animal repellent. To activate it, just pull out the pin; to deactivate it, replace the pin. The sound lasts for 30 minutes. Forbes calls it, “The alarm for everyone.”
    BASU recently debuted its patented eAlarmGPS which emits a 130dB alarm with 24/7 stand-alone monitoring and a rechargeable battery that runs two years. BASU’s monthly Professional Emergency Response subscription includes all data and 24/7 protection connected by AT&T with free 24/7/365 customer support. It includes BASU’s Magic™ Technology, built-in connectivity and GPS location with no cell phone required. Just pull the pin to activate the alarm and summon an emergency response. Details can be found on the company’s website about this and other innovative products.
    BASU is looking to co-share office space at its Orinda location – give personnel a call at 804-571-2278 if you are interested, or stop by to meet the team at 8 Camino Encinas, Suite 100 in Orinda, M – F from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visit them any time online at www.basu.com.

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