Shop while you wait for a table in this tiny Indonesian eatery within a mini-mart.
If there’s a wait for a table at Warung Selasa, kill time by perusing an aisle or two of hard-to-find Indonesian groceries. You won’t have to go far when your table is ready. It’s just in the back of the store. Three days a week, this becomes one of the smallest restaurants in New York City.
Indonesian emigre Dewi Tjahjadi opened the Indo Java mini-mart in 2008 to create a meeting place for the Elmhurst neighborhood’s Indonesian community. After developing a loyal customer base and becoming a hub for the community, she began cooking lunch one day a week in 2016, serving two customers at a time on a single folding table in the back of the store. There was no menu: She would tell you the one dish she was serving for lunch that day and ask if that was okay.
Today, there is still no menu, and while her fanbase has spread by word of mouth and several media outlets have caught wind of her delicious and affordable meals, the only additions have been an extra table and a second chef. With assistance from Tjahjadi’s friend, Warung Selasa now serves lunch three days a week to accommodate the influx of clients, offering Indonesian classics such as nasi campur (tamarind-curried vegetables and rice with a rotating array of proteins, from fried kingfish to chicken to beef jerky, depending on the day), nasi gudeg (jackfruit boiled in coconut milk with rice, chicken, spicy beef, and egg), and soto ayam (chicken soup with turmeric, prawn crackers, and noodles).
Tjahjadi’s bakso beranak is a giant, hollowed-out beef ball filled with smaller beef balls, a perfect fit for this charming restaurant nestled within a grocery store.
Know Before You Go
Tjahjadi cooks lunch on Tuesdays, while another chef cooks on Thursday and Sunday. Food is served from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., or until they run out. Check Tjahjadi’s Instagram to find out upcoming Tuesday offerings.
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