Dinner at the Patel Motel: Hanna Raskin on Indian-owned hotels in the South

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Paul Zoeller, Wade Spees for The Post and Courier (Courtesy: Southern Foodways Alliance)

It may surprise you to find that the South has most of the fastest-growing immigrant communities in America. However, some of these communities are less visible than others. If you’ve ever stayed in a motel in Georgia or in the Carolinas, chances are it was owned by an Indian immigrant from the state of Gujarat. The owner-families who work and live at these hotels and motels continue the food traditions of their homeland, often to the dismay of their guests. Charleston’s The Post and Courier food editor and chief critic Hanna Raskin brings us the story she reported for Gravy, a podcast produced by the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Our story was excerpted from the full-length Gravy episode, "Dinner at the Patel Motel." Thanks to Thomas Walsh for editing it for us. Read the companion story Hanna Raskin wrote for The Post and Courier here. Images below are courtesy of the Southern Foodways Alliance.

ALT INFOVimal Patel cooks inside — and outside — a room in the Day’s Inn he operates in North Charleston.
Photo credit: Wade Spees for The Post & Courier.

ALT INFOVimal Patel cooks inside -- and outside -- a room in the Day's Inn he operates in North Charleston.
Photo credit: Wade Spees for The Post & Courier.

ALT INFOVimal Patel cooks inside — and outside — a room in the Day’s Inn he operates in North Charleston.
Photo credit: Wade Spees for The Post & Courier.

ALT INFOKamini Patel tries to grow everything she might need for cooking in her garden at their motel in North Charleston. “Everything I eat I try to grow,” she said.
Photo credit: Paul Zoeller for The Post & Courier.

From This Episode: 
The Unexpected South
Published: 
June 16th, 2017

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