By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Apr 08, 2021 at 12:01 PM

Guests at Crossroads Collective, 2238 N. Farwell Ave., will soon be able to sample a fresh new take on healthful Indian-inspired fare.

Ruta’s Vibrant Indian Cafe is currently focussing on building out their space, training staff and perfecting their menus. But the fresh new concept is slated to make its debut on Sunday, April 11. 

The cafe is owned and operated by husband and wife team Chef Ruta Kahate and Neville Desouza, who recently returned to the U.S. after spending years in Goa, India. There, Kahate operated six unique cafes, ranging from a tapas bar shack on a white-sand beach to a lush garden cafe in a historical Portuguese-era villa.

The couple, who also previously lived in Oakland, California, chose to make their home in a new city upon their return. So, they pared their choices down to six. When they visited Milwaukee, they loved it so much it became their first choice.

“We loved the people and the vibe—warm, friendly, enthusiastic, not jaded—a perfect match for us,” says Kahate. “So we abandoned the rest of the list and never left!” Ruta laughs.

“People here are  eager to explore and we can offer some of that international flavor that they’re looking for. The East Side is already exciting and has a blossoming food scene, so we can’t wait to contribute to that in our own way.”

Ruta’s will serve scratch-made cafe fare including soups, unique sandwiches, fresh bowls and baked goods, with many items showcasing fresh, lively Indian flavors that showcase flavors that highlight the varied history and diverse regions of the country. Coffee and tea will also be available, including signature brews like ImmuniTea and Turmeric Elixir. 

“Overall our food is bright, fresh, and healthful,” says Kahate.  “It’s a bit different than the Indian food you’re familiar with; but you’ll recognize the Indian flavors. We keep it all light and wholesome, so it looks beautiful, tastes good, and is also good for you. It’s my modern touch on an ancient cuisine, guided by Ayurvedic principles and refined over the years in India and California.”

The menu will include something for everyone, including several plant-based options.

“When you first meet Ruta, you can feel her passion for cooking,” note Gina Gruenewald,  General Manager of Crossroads Collective in a release.

“She brings vibrancy to all that she does—from running cafes to writing cookbooks—and it’s contagious. We are beyond excited to welcome Ruta’s to Crossroads. The food, the energy, and the creative vision are really remarkable.”

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.