Two brothers and one best friend move to a new city and start a fast-casual Indian restaurant. No, this is not the premise for a half-hour sitcom premiering on CBS in May. Rather, it’s a true story, one that’s happening right here in Cincy.
Pilot (Episode 101): The Brothers of Beavercreek & Ronaldo
The characters at play are Phillip and Ben Ranly (brothers) and Ronaldo Gillespie (childhood best friend of Ben). They grew up in Beavercreek, which — for those unfamiliar with Ohio geography — is a suburb of Dayton. In 2006, Phillip was the first to trade the Gem City for the Queen City. Ronaldo came in 2009 to attend University of Cincinnati. And finally, in 2012, Ben moved to town to be closer to his brother.
That same year Phillip came up with the idea of a fast-casual Indian restaurant but didn’t think much more of it. Though I didn’t press him on the matter, I’d say it might have been similar to the genius idea one wakes up with following a night of great sleep. (Like, for example, my prototype “salad glove” which may or—more likely—may not ever find its way onto the shelves of Bed, Bath, & Beyond.)
Uh, moving on
Episode 102: We’re On A Boat
In the summer of 2015, the three amigos depart on a journey of self discovery sailing in the Mediterranean. It’s during this trip that Phillip’s flash-in-the-pan notion of an Indian restaurant really starts to take shape. Less than a year later, on February 25, 2016, they sign paperwork for the Articles of Incorporation for Injoy and purchase a little cart. We’re going to fast-forward in the backstory now, so imagine a time-lapse video of Phillip, Ben, and Ronaldo cooking, rehabbing a cart, doing pop ups at Findlay, setting up for lunch at Longworth Hall, and rocking out at Bunbury.
Episode 103: Thumbs Up
Injoy officially opened its brick & mortar store on April 14, 2018. Located in the former Bottle & Basket space at 14th and Republic, it has some prime OTR real estate. But a nice corner block and a cool backstory can only take someone so far. After tasting their Tikka Masala sauce (along with a few other items), I feel confident — or, if nothing else, hopeful — that the food paired with their friendly & chill vibe will take them the rest of the way.
Episode 104: One Life To Live
Here’s something to keep in mind: These three endearing young men have no prior experience opening or running a restaurant. To complete your mental picture of these real-life characters, Phillip has a background in marketing and graphic design, Ben in IT network solutions, and Ronaldo in industrial management.
They are not trained culinary wizards nor do they, to the best of my knowledge, have access to an Indian grandma’s secret family recipe for Vindaloo sauce. And in oh so many ways, that’s what makes the delectable taste of their food all the more impressive. Which is great and certainly reason enough to give 'em a try.
But here's another one — simple and to the point. “Our main goal is to bring a moment of joy to other humans,” Ronaldo explained. With that, I encourage you to injoy!
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Injoy is located at 1400 Republic Street (45202).