Every vegetarian’s continuous battle is to hunt down a restaurant that can be tagged as every vegetarian’s dream. Laa Unico fits the bill perfectly. Pankit Thakkar, along with his co-founder, Asif Virani, founded Laa Unico in Pune. Being passionate foodies, it took them months to finalize the menu, so that they could serve the most unique and authentic dishes for their customers. Also, Laa Unico recently won the award for Most Popular and Trending Multicuisine Veg Restaurant by The Times Of India.
In Conversation With Pankit Thakkar of Laa Unico
In an exclusive conversation with The Restaurant Times, Pankit Thakkar talks of his journey in the industry, the story behind Laa Unico, deciding the concept, operational challenges and a lot more.
About Laa Unico
Laa Unico is a one-stop destination for vegetarian food lovers! Laa Unico interiors have a touch of Italian, Santorini and Greek themes. It took them nine months to finish the interiors.
They have the largest menu in town for a Pure Vegetarian family restaurant and have covered maximum cuisines in one place. They have more than two fifty dishes and more than fifty mocktails on the menu.
At Laa Unico, they believe in serving unique food. They serve an assortment of Italian, Mexican, Continental, Indian and Oriental cuisines.
From Pani Puri, Fusion Chaats like Mexican Bhel, which is a combination of Mexican and Indian Chaat, Fusion sizzlers like Pawbhaji Sizzlers, they have it all at Laa Unico!
They also serve mocktails out of test tube shots, which is a hit at Laa Unico. It has six shots in a portion and also has a smokey effect to it. The speciality of serving these mocktails are that they are made in the ‘Live Bar’ wherein the patrons can enjoy watching them being prepared.
The signature dish at Laa Unico is the Live Dessert – Chocolate Landscape which is made right in front of your eyes. It’s something which you can’t miss out on once here!
Deciding The Concept
Laa Unico is an Italian name which translates to “The Unique One”. As the name suggests, they serve unique dishes to the customers. Pankit Thakkar tells that, Laa Unico aims at connecting all the generations together under one roof. It is a place where a five-year-old kid would equally enjoy like a sixty-year-old.
There are dishes for all age groups here. Starting from shots for the adults, which are non-alcoholic and made from fruit juice is a perfect way to start the meal.
Laa Unico is situated in Mukundnagar, which is not considered to be the best locations to open a restaurant. After a lot of market research, Thakkar along with his co-founder, Virani, found potential in this area and decided to launch the restaurant in Mukundnagar. Initially, few restaurants had been launched in this area, but they failed. It was a risky decision but Thakkar decided that it was worth the risk.
Mukundnagar is a central location for a lot of other places. It is a place occupied by the Marwaris and Gujarati folks in general who are typically vegetarians.
Thakkar built a beautiful ambience which included the lounge and rooftop concept along with the vast vegetarian food menu.
It is one of the only places in Pune to offer such a vast menu for vegetarians. None of the food items are regular ones. Every food item is unique in its own way, it might be the taste or the food presentation, but there is something unique about each and every food item. This is how they overcame this challenge and are now thriving in Pune.
Laa Unico lives true to its name and follows a unique marketing mix as well. Keeping back the traditional methods, all the promotion methods are digital. Apart from promoting their restaurant on Facebook and Instagram through pictures and videos, festivals are major events when they promote their restaurant.
The majority crowd at Laa Unico is Marwari or Gujrati population and Navratri is one of their major festivals where they wear traditional costumes called Kedia. So during Navratri and Ganesh Chaturthi, the staff at the restaurant wears Kedia to give the place a festive feel and build customer relationships. They film videos along with the picturesque ambience and post it on various social media platforms.
Apart from this, they try to maintain strong relationships with their customers and take feedback on a regular basis. This helps them understand the patrons better and market their restaurant simultaneously by maintaining a strong customer base.
Assuredly, Laa Unico is one of the quirkiest places in Pune, with great food and amazing service. Vegetarian food will never be the same once you’ve savoured what Laa Unico has to offer!