Ancient Spirits and Grille Makes History as America’s First Auyervedic Restaurant and Herbal Lounge

-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events
photo by Eddy Marenco

Owners and lifelong friends Syam Namballa and Mahi Reddy announce the grand opening of America’s first Ayurvedic herbal restaurant and cocktail lounge right here in Center City, Philadelphia. Ancient Spirits and Grille will officially open its doors at 1726 Chestnut Street on Friday, September 17th, with a special grand opening party from 5:00pm to 10:00pm. The three-story, 7,000 square feet, 150-seat dining destination offers contemporary European cuisine inspired by Auyervedic and herbal elements. The service and chef-driven concept highlights organic and herbal-based offerings with the beloved Executive Chef Chris Tavares formerly of Davio’s.

The menu will feature creative and beautifully presented dishes with ample vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Guests are invited to take a short survey on their phones that creates a special customized menu based on body type, metabolic energy and dietary restrictions. Namballa and Reddy combine their decades of experience in the tech, travel and restaurant sectors for this unique restaurant retreat that blends together wellness, lavishness and modern technology. From the bar, look for over 50 carefully sourced organic and biodynamic wines, 12 hand-crafted to order cocktails with herbal flavors and local ingredients, two dozen beers by draft, can and bottle, and inventive seasonal mocktails. It is located in the heart of Rittenhouse, and is ideal for date night, girls night, special occasions, business dinners, parties and so much more.

For opening day, Ancient will host a special Grand Opening Party on Friday from 5:00pm to 10:00pm, that includes organic cocktails, passed appetizers, food stations and desserts. Tickets are on sale for $50 and proceeds benefit Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center.

Ancient Spirits & Grillè takes inspiration from Ayurveda, which dates back 5,000 years and is a relevant practice even today to restore and maintain the harmony between the body and the mind. Holistic food plays a significant role to promote wellness by remedying the body’s imbalances. Ancient Spirit and Grille, is America’s first herbal restaurant and lounge, taking inspiration from Ayurveda to bring these holistic and organic foods to life. Every dish on the menu is hand-selected and customized according to each body type which relaxes the soul and treats the taste buds with unique and mouth-watering flavors.

According to Ayurveda, the body and mind is ruled by life forces or Doshas. Ayurveda divides body types on the basis of three doshas: Vata (Air) , Pitta (Fire) and Kapha (Earth). These doshas are constants in life with each person’s physical and mental characteristics being defined by their predominant dosha. Ancient Spirit & Grille assesses each guest’s predominant dosha through a short classified questionnaire (assessing each individual’s emotion, behavior and activities) to help them balance their dosha for a healthier lifestyle created by co-owner  Namballa. With the perfect blend of taste and health, Executive Chef and his team have organized holistic cuisine that will help guests become the healthiest version of themselves.

Under the leadership and talents of Executive Chef Chris Tavares, guests can enjoy dishes featuring contemporary European cuisine inspired by Auyervedic and Herbal Elements with a variety of dietary options including vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free selections. Highlights of the menu include the following dishes:

* Rack of Lamb,Turkish Date, CousCous, Rosemary-Boswellia Mustard, Sesame Puree, Port Wine
* Timbale, Braised Rabbit, Turmeric Risotto Wild Mushroom and Crispy Sage
* Ginger Duck Breast, Rosemary Plum Chutney, Blistered Scallions, Parsnip-Potato Puree, Red Wine Reduction (GF)
* Lobster, Lobster Tail, Triphala Mushroom Duxelle, Asparagus Risotto Tarragon Crème (GF)  
* Eggplant Strati, English Peas, Ginger, Chilies Potatoes, Coriander, Cashew Cream (V, GF)
* Ayurvedic Falafel, Mung Bean, Ayurvedic Spice, Caramelized Onions, Yogurt Sauce (VEG)
* BBQ Trio, Herbal Marinated Skewers, Lamb, Chicken, Vegetable (GF)
* Coulibiac, Salmon, Cumin, Phyllo Dough Sour Cherry, Spinach, Tulasi Oil (GF)
* Bourekas, Duck Confit, Feta, Sundried Cherry Jam Yufka, Cumin Crème Fraiche Flapjack  
* Braised Lamb, Tamarind Pumpkin Chutney
* Grilled Octopus, Smoked Paprika Chickpea Puree Coconut-Cardamom Cream Blood Orange Salad Ballotine (GF)
* Crispy Skin Chicken Sausage, Shisito Peppers Romesco, Caramelized Onions, Basil Oil  

Other selections include soups (Heirloom Carrot, Mamsarasa, Seafood Bisque), salads (Salted Roasted Beet Salad, Watermelon Salad, Red Lentil Salad, Frisee Salad), and starters and mains (Smoked Salmon,  Eggplant Strati, Wild Mushroom,  Chou En Couche).

For a sweet ending to each experience, desserts include:
* Sambuca Poached Pear 9 (VEG, GF)
* Lavender-Cardamom Ice Cream, Caramel Sauce
* Creme Brulee, Vanilla, Rose Petal, Saffron Custard Trifle (VEG, GF)
* Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake, Passion Fruit, Whipped Cream (VEG, GF)
* Petits Fours Trio, Chocolate Dipped Turkish Dates, Almond Butter, Caramel Sauce, Sun Dried Apricots, Cream Cheese, Pistachios, Pomegranate Cream Puff, Cinnamon Mascarpone, Raspberry Honey (VEG)

*A Chef’s Tasting Menu is available Monday to Sunday and features five Courses for $75 per guests, It is a customizable menu based on the guests’ dosha type with no substitutions. Available throughout the restaurant.

Executive Chef Chris Tavares’ expertise includes overall knowledge of restaurant operations, but in the kitchen his passion shines with expertise with proteins, sauces and execution/finishing. According to Tavares, the most rewarding part of being a chef is creating seasonal menus which guests truly enjoy. Tavares incorporated the herbal aspects of Ayurveda for this new contemporary European cuisine. He balanced the flavor profiles of each dish through the herbs to make it a real delicacy. Tavares spent countless hours working on the menu with the management team to perfectly balance each dish for its unique flavor profile. He understands each herb and it’s true benefits to have a perfect holistic diet based on the dosha (energy). His expertise is new menu creation for the seasons as well as training the staff so that they in turn can educate the guests efficiently. It is important for the staff to understand and believe in the concept so that they can guide the guest through the menu.  

Tavares brings in great energy and creativity for his menus while sourcing organic ingredients from local organic farms. He creates a positive work environment in the kitchen and back of the house for the staff. Tavares has previously worked at The Mansion Inn (Bed & Breakfast), Earl’s Bucks County and as a caterer at Culinary Concepts one of Philadelphia’s premier off-premises caterers and as Executive Chef at the former Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse for eleven years creating true leadership experience in fine dining.

The stunning floor to ceiling first floor bar features organic freshly made handcrafted cocktails, biodynamic wines and spirits. The bar and cocktail program designed by Namballa and Reddy took over a year to complete. For beer lovers, there are 10 draft beers at the main bar. A selection of local, national and international bottles are available. For cocktails, the mixology team features 12 carefully handcrafted organic and herbal cocktails. The mixology team spent 18 months designing the cocktails and testing the herbs for evaluation on flavor profiles. The seasonal cocktails are designed to pair with the menu and also focus on herbal ingredients such as Turmeric, Brahmi, Saffron, Ashwagandha, Cinnamon and Lavender. The homemade syrups for all the cocktails are infused for two weeks each. For wines, look for an intimate selection of over 50 reds, whites, rose and sparkling selections by the glass and bottles that are organic, minimal intervention and Biodynamic.

Herbal cocktails highlights include:
* Golden Health, house made turmeric infused rum, aperol,  house made nutmeg syrup, strawberry jam, angostura bitters
* Herb of Life, gin, fresh squeezed lemon juice, lavender tonic reduction, house made sage-basil-rosemary syrup
* Healing Touch, vodka, aloe vera liqueur, chartreuse, fresh squeezed lime juice, fresh cucumber
* Ayur Dhatu, silver tequila, organic oat milk,  falernum papaya puree, house made citrus shrub
* Panchakarma, organic vodka, elderflower, amla puree, house-made ginger syrup, fresh squeezed lemon juice
* Turmeric Tide, house-made turmeric infused rum, fresh pineapple syrup, fresh lime juice
* Divyagandha, house-infused black cardamom gin, organic mead, hemp oil, blood orange reduction

House cocktails include:
* Masala Rye, rye, house-made chai spice syrup, house-made cardamom bitters, angostura bitters
* Men of Tain, glemorangie 10 yr old scotch, egg white, fresh lemon, honey
* The Elevated G&T, blue coat gin, fever tree tonic, star anise, pink peppercorn, lemon
* Eastern Cocktail, tanqueray gin, orange bitters, house-infused herbed vermouth

Ancient Spirits and Grille is a lavish, beautifully decorated restaurant, bar and lounge that scales three stories tall above Chestnut Street. Nestled in between Grand L’Aquila Cafe and Di Bruno Bros, this new concept continues to bring new life to Chestnut Street, Rittenhouse neighborhood and Center City. Guests inside will find a sweeping 50+ feet tall lush green wall, complemented by stunning artwork by local artists, unique wooden sculptures and other decorative details. The vibes are perfect for everything from an intimate business dinner, a romantic night on the town, a special anniversary or birthday, a family function, a night on the town, girls night, or even a date night for twenty-somethings seeking stunning vibes.

The first floor features a welcoming and warmly lit reception area with unique art, plants and the start of the lush green-style wall that starts at the dining room and wraps back to the bar area, and sweeps up the second level of the open foyer leading up the second level dining room and mezzanine. On the opposite wall look for exposed original brick that is restored and scales over 50+ feet high above the ground level. Seating to the West side of the dining room is set against the warm glow cascading from unique wooden panels that tie together ancient inspiration with modern design elements.

Beyond the front dining room and lush greenery is a modern interpretation of a waterfall to showcase water and movement. Beyond the water, is a stunning bar that seats a dozen guests. The unique bar design features cascading and alternating lights and green plants nestled among the ample selection of wine and spirits. Facing the bar, is a dimly lit dining room designed for more intimate occasions and date nights, featuring exposed brick, velvety blue banquets and wooden slab-top style tables.

Ancient Spirits & Grillè is proud to showcase one-of-a-kind bold artwork by local artists such as the beautiful Lion overlooking the main dining room. Other custom artwork throughout the restaurant includes the giant Buddha in the main hallway staircase represents enlightenment and balance in the Hindu religion. The walls throughout the restaurant are reclaimed brick and cement with a beautiful sparkly gold finish.

Looking for a table with a view? Upstairs on the second level, 15+ feet in the air, look for one of the most romantic date night tables for two in the entire city, with a special mini-dining room overlooking the first floor on one side and looking out over the city on the other side. This special romantic table for two comes with its own private dining space and its own entrance door. On the other side of the open foyer, look for a special Chef’s table that seats six to eight guests, set with a stunning view of the flowing light sculpures, the green wall and the exposed brick. The Chef’s table backs up to a second floor bar set off by specially designed panels and wooden shelves for spirits and candles, with a slab top bar top. Beyond the bar, look for a second dining room for additional patron seating, or for private events and parties.

On the third and final level, look for additional dining rooms that serve as special event and private party spaces with ample room for cocktail style events or seated dinners.

The first floor bar seats 12 guests and the downstairs dining rooms seats 45 guests, with an additional 20 guests on the sidewalk cafe. The second floor dining room seats 65 to 70 guests and the third floor seats 65 to 70 as well. The third floor private dining room can accomodate 45 to 50 guests in the larger room and 20 guests in other.

Syam Namballa is CEO and Sr. Managing partner of Synergy financial solutions group. Namballa brings over a decade of performance and expertise in the IT-Tech Industry and has volunteered his time and expertise to launch several start-up organizations since 2006 such while expanding his experience in working with virtual teams, developing business strategies and mentoring. As an Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist, Namballa is now looking to emerging markets and enterprises to provide funding and consulting services to tomorrow’s business leaders.

Mahi Reddy is Managing Partner and Co-Founder of SSV Group, and brings over 10 + years of extensive entrepreneurial experience that brings a strong understanding about the dynamics of the Hospitality industry and Technology space. Being a strategic thinker with an innovative and result oriented approach,  Reddy could successfully drive business to new levels of growth, market leadership and customer satisfaction.

Look for the happy hour, late night, additional hours, potential service, seasonal menu changes and expanded menu offerings.

Ancient Spirits & Grillè will be available for semi-private special events, private parties and complete buy-outs. The space can be subdivided into many ways, including five different unique areas. For rental information and parties, please email The restaurant is elevator and handicap accessible.

This Instagram paradise is open seven days a week, Sunday to Thursday, for dinner, from 5:00pm to 10:00pm, and Friday and Saturday, for lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm and dinner from 5:00pm to 11:00pm. Launch services include dine-in, take-out, delivery, indoor dining and outdoor dining. Delivery is available on Grubhub, Doordash and UberEats. For reservations, menus and additional information, visit, call (215) 478 8777 and follow @ancientspiritsgrille on Instagram.

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