Conway’s suddenly vibrant food scene gets another upgrade this spring as veteran food truck Katmandu Momo is opening its first full-service restaurant location there. The new restaurant is opening in downtown Conway at 1018 Oak St, next door to men’s clothing store Bell and Sward. What’s more, Katmandu Momo’s grand opening is likely less than a month away. For husband-and-wife owners Kyler Nordeck and Saroza Shrestha, the expansion completes a longtime goal of theirs.
“When we opened in the River Market we knew we were still looking to expand,” said Kyler Nordeck It’s good for lunch and good for the farmers market days, but it didn’t have everything we need. We always had an eye on Conway, we did very well every time we brought the food truck here.”
The opening in Conway represents an expansion, not a relocation. Katmandu Momo will still be open in the River Market and will continue operating the food truck. But the Conway location will where Shrestha gets to fully show off her Nepalese heritage in the kitchen. I got a sneak peak at the menu, and to say it represents an expanded line-up is an understatement.
So far, we’ve only seen the momo and sides from the food truck, and a chicken chow mein from the River Market location. I count close to 30 total items on the Conway menu, starting with variations on momo. The steamed momo has been the only option thus far, but in Conway we will get Jhol Momo (soup), Khotay Momo (pan-seared), Deep-Fried Momo and Chili Momo, which is stir-fried in a traditional Nepalese sweet-and-spicy sauce. There are also samosas, thukpa (noodle soup), fried rice, and a dish called chatamari, which Shrestha says she’s most excited to cook for guests.
“Chatamari is like a crepe made with rice flour, so it is gluten-free,” said Shrestha. “On top goes ground pork or chicken that’s been marinated, and then we crack an egg on it. This is a traditional dish from the Newari people. I’m a member of the Newari group, so chatamari is something special to me.”
There’s so much more on the menu I’m excited about, and vegan and gluten-free diners will also find plenty to love. Katmandu Momo’s Conway menu has several vegan options that look delicious; you won’t be stuck just ordering the salad. And the use of rice and rice flour in several plates means diners avoiding gluten will also be well taken care of.
As for the opening, Nordeck says the final build-out could be complete as soon as this week. Shrestha says she still needs to train a kitchen staff, and the restaurant still needs to undergo all inspections and permitting. Because of Arkansas’ liquor law that requires restaurants to pay a full yearly license fee every June instead of a prorated fee for new businesses, Katmandu Momo will be waiting until this summer to start serving beer, wine and mixed drinks. We will keep you posted when Katmandu Momo Conway is ready for business.