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Saffron Garden Undergoes Renovation, Reopens Under New Ownership

July 7, 2017 Staff Report

The third time could be the charm for a popular Skillman Ave eatery.

Saffron Garden, located at 46-11 Skillman Ave, underwent renovations early last month and had a soft-reopening on June 16 under the guidance of two new owners, Samin Rana Magar and Indian chef Nezli Fernandes.

This will be the third set of owners at this location since 2010, which at the time was named Basmati Table and owned by Alim Maruf. Maruf handed over the business to Shekh Noman in 2011, who changed the eatery’s name to Saffron Garden and ran the restaurant up until May of this year.

Nezli, one of the new owners, is an 8-year Woodside resident who moved to the United States from Goan, India. He spent four years working as a chef on board P&O and Princess cruise lines and then 5 years working as a chef at Jackson Diner’s 72 University Place Manhattan location, operated by the same owner as the Jackson Heights restaurant by the same name.

Samin Rana Magar

Samin, 23, who is from Nepal and is a five-year Elmhurst resident, said she and Nezli worked together at Jackson Diner for over a year before deciding take the helm at Saffron Garden.

“We were both very familiar with Sunnyside, and have eaten at Saffron Garden before,” she said.

They said the location and demand for Indian and Nepalese food on the north side of Queens Boulevard is what led them to acquire Saffron Garden from its previous owner.

The first thing they tackled when taking over the space was making sure the place was clean, Samin said. For instance, the biggest part of their renovations other than changing the colors of the walls was cleaning and removing layers of grease and residue buildup that had accumulated over the years on the walls, ceilings and furniture of the restaurant.

Chicken Tikka Masala with Basmati Rice and Naan Bread

From there, they then updated the menu.

Some of the new items, Samin said, include Chicken Xacutti, which is chicken made in roasted coconut sauce and Indian herbs. They’ve also added Guan Fish Curry, and Achari Mushroom, which is slow roasted mushroom marinated in yogurt and pickle spice.

Traditional menu items such as Chicken Tandoori, Biryhani and Tikka Masala remain, in addition to Mulligatawny Soup and Lamb Vindaloo.

For Samin opening the restaurant has been a dream come true.

“I always wanted to own my own business, and be my own boss,” she said, adding, “Sunnyside is also a really good neighborhood to open a business. When we finished our renovations, most of our neighbors from the dry cleaner across the street, to the Welcome Home realtors next door came inside to wish us good luck.”

Hours of operation after then will be Monday to Thursday, from noon to 11:00pm, and Friday to Sunday noon to midnight. They will also offer delivery service by phone beginning July 11, at (718) 433-4449.

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Click for Comments 

We ate dinner there the other night. It was excellent! I’m so happy that Saffron Gardens is now better than ever. Best of luck to you.

Telly g

3%? You dont ask for much do you? A woman who don’t ask for much! You can’t be from around here. Can’t be.


If I hadn’t used all mine, I’d give them an extra wish. Instead, I grant them good luck. Please give me a 3% off lucky loyalty credit? Praise you!

Bulimic Panda

I boycotted this place because they never gave plastic knife or fork with delivery. They deliver beer so hard to say bye bye. Most Sunnyside bodegas deliver beer if you ask. The Chinese beer store sells illegal cigarettes for vewy vewy cheap. I hope the police don’t read this and deport them back to Flushing. I will see you all at the jazz festival tomorrow after criquet. I pray for majorities and other people too. G-d bless. Amen.


We were so disappointed to see the restaurant closed tonight because we went earlier in the week and LOVED what we ordered and the friendly service. I hope they do well! Big difference in the food! We will definitely return when they reopen July 11th. Welcome to the neighborhood.


I have tried their food. Finally got to taste a good indian food in the neighborhood..Stay positive and wish you all the best

Bart Stone

Yeah new name would be a great idea. Saffron was not good, fresh start makes sense. Hope they make it, could really use a solid indian spot in the hood.


This is fantastic news. I wanted to love Saffron Garden but gave up after three pretty bad meals. If this new joint is anything like Jackson Diner we are in luck.

Dewey martin

They should change the name so they are not associated with previous ownership. And have good food.


Yes you r right…..according to one of the owners that stupid name will go off very soon….name gives them nightmare.

Gone D.

“The third time could be the charm for a popular Skillman Ave eatery.” Who writes these advertisements? If it were popular I doubt it would have changed owners three times. It’s like when the SP wrote about how Sunnyside is the new comedy Mecca. It’s one thing to be a neighborhood booster but it’s another to write bulls**t.


Lets give chance to people do business instead of saying….what u feel like saying just fo the hack of saying

Gone D.

This is not about the business. It’s about the Sunnyside Post. I wish the new owners well.


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