About Town

American Dreams: Star of India

  Sami Lal introduced Indian cuisine to the Natural State. After nearly three decades, Star of India remains a beacon of impeccable service + hospitality and for the Lal family, it’s the American dream. Sami elaborates, “My dream was to come to the United States and have my own restaurant because cooking and serving others is my passion.”

   Since 1993, Sami has welcomed guests to Star of India as if they are family. He remembers names and faces and enjoys every encounter with a joyful spirit. “Service comes from my heart and I love the people. When you love somebody, you are going to remember the people.”

   Born in Nakodar, a northern town in India, Sami recalls learning from his mother. “I watched my mom cook all the time and hoped that maybe one day I’d be the one cooking food for other people.” He moved to Germany to attend culinary school and later began his American career in Dallas, Texas. Today, Star of India is a family affair. He works alongside his three daughters as well as his wife continuing a tradition established during his childhood. “We’re using the same home-style recipes that mom cooked with a unique blend of my own innovation.”

   Daughters Joyti, Deepali and Shibani have always considered the restaurant home. Deepali notes, “We spent holidays and our birthdays here – making friends and lots of great memories.” Shibani elaborates, “We got to see our parents’ work ethic and how they respect employees and customers. Our parents are our role models and inspiration; their hard work and dedication has motivated us to become a better version of ourselves. Our experience from restaurant business has taught us to be humble, patient and resilient.”

   Sami reflects, “If anyone were to come to my house, they would get the same kind of experience and hospitality, so why not share it and make it special in my restaurant? I believe that a guest or a patron who comes to your house is like a God – so treat them well. It’s a cultural thing, and I’ve made sure that my children respect and follow this as well.” Joyti adds, “Coming from a restaurant family always taught me to work harder as it always pays off and one trait I can always reflect on is the attitude, that is everything!” Star of India is a dream come true for Lal family. “All it takes is will, skill, lots of hard work and a passion to make it happen.”

301 N Shackleford Rd, Little Rock | 501.227.9900


Owner Sami Lal | Photography by Jamison Mosley

Inviting Arkansas

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