A part of S.P Group, Since 1981
Mr. Shankar R Poojary (1954-2007)
(Late) Mr. Shankar Rama Poojary (1954-2007)
A Legacy of Flavours and Nostalgia
I dreamed a dream
In 1954, nestled in a picturesque coastal village of Karnataka named Padukone, was born a boy with a dream. Shankar lived in a small house by a river. Hearty South Indian meals, cooked in a firewood kitchen by his loving mother, sparked a love for food in him. As he grew up, his boundless love for his brothers and sisters, kept him awake many nights wishing for a better life for them. He dreamed of a world where everyone had enough for themselves, and more to share with others.
A Journey of a Lifetime
A young starry-eyed Shankar, barely 12 years old, left home and arrived in the bustling city of dreams in 1966. With hope in one pocket and Rs. 25 in the other, his dream was to become someone and create a better life for his family. Before embarking upon his journey, he had visited the Lord Shiva temple. A devout follower, he asked for the Lord’s blessings, and made a vow that he would not return home, unless he had achieved his dreams and aspirations.
Lord Shiva Pooja during inauguration of Shiv Sagar, Vile Parle (East), Bombay (1981)
The Gateway to Success
Shankar felt energised by Bombay’s rich and diverse food, culture, theatre, art, and music. The people of Bombay became a part of his family. With a humble heart and curious mind, he started performing odd jobs in the food and beverage industry, and shuffled between jobs to make ends meet. Later, he began working for his dear uncle and mentor, Mr. Suresh Poojari, the founder of the Sukh Sagar restaurant in Chowpatty, Bombay. He worked hard throughout the day, attended night school, and sent a portion of his earnings back home every month without fail.
(From Left to Right) Mr Suresh Poojari (mentor), Mr & Mrs Lachu Seth, Mr Shankar R Poojary (1981)
A Culinary Adventure Begins
They say an entrepreneur’s dreams can never be contained by a risk evading heart. Mr. Shankar Poojary wanted to start an enterprise after mastering its practical elements. In 1978, his first venture involved opening a small Fruit Juice House in New Marine Lines, near Liberty Cinema, Bombay. While running the outlet, he continued working with his uncle. While at work, he managed the backend job and served his beloved guests. He loved interacting and exchanging anecdotes, knowledge, and experiences with them. Working 16-18 hours a day, he evolved into a man of humility, passion, ambition and zeal, with an undeniable aura of excellence.
Mrs Kokila Ben, Society Member and guest (1981)
Shiv Sagar Pure Veg
Soon enough, his hard work paid off. In 1981, from a small Fruit Juice House, Mr. Shankar Poojary was able to expand and establish his own, pure vegetarian restaurant named Shiv Sagar in Vile Parle (East), Bombay. The restaurant initially served fresh fruit juices, and gradually went on to add a variety of flavourful dishes and cuisines to its menu. It reflected his sheer love for serving healthy, fresh and delicious handcrafted food to his beloved guests and his commitment to providing quality service.
In every story, there is always a moment of despair, when your dreams seem too daunting to achieve, and hope is only a distant friend. Six months into the business, yet the sales were not picking up. Losses were heavy, and so was his heart. He wanted to give up, but then, his friends and family stepped in. Never had they known a man of such substance and passion, and hence they could not let him forgo a dream so pure.
Opening Ceremony Shiv Sagar Vile Parle (East) 1981
Not much later, thanks to one of his staff members named Chef Manohar, lovingly called Babu Bhai, Mr. Shankar Poojary decided to introduce a game-changing dish - the Pav Bhaji. Navratri arrived, and so did the blessings and fruits of his efforts. Guests began to flock to Shiv Sagar to indulge in the mouth-watering dish that melted smoothly on their tongues. The perfect blend of aromas, spices, flavours and pocket-friendliness, had his guests coming back for more!
Reaching New Heights
The business grew exponentially. You could now pamper yourself to Pav Bhaji, South Indian, North Indian, Chinese, Italian, and Mexican cuisines, as well as Falooda, Fresh Fruit Juices, Milkshakes and more, all with a delicious Indian twist! The items that stood out most were the Pav Bhaji, Bombay Pizza, Chinese Bhel, Idli Chilly, and Falooda. Even today, the dedicated patronage of these much loved dishes continues to grow and spread. As the customer base and business grew, Mr. Shankar Poojary, opened a second Shiv Sagar branch in Juhu, and a third one in Pune. This was only the beginning of his success, he further branched out to Goa, Bangalore, and also went international to set up a world class branch in Dubai.
Dreams Do Come True
The dreams of a young boy, from a small village in Karnataka, went on to make a mark internationally. Perhaps it is the mud of Padukone, that is known to birth greatness to the likes of Guru Dutt, Prakash Padukone, and Deepika Padukone. Or perhaps, it is the love and support of his family, brothers and sisters, beloved guests, and dedicated staff members, that stood by him and encouraged him to chase his dreams. Or perhaps, it was his humble heart and spiritual mind that pushed Mr. Shankar Poojary beyond limits and failure, to earn the goodwill of his guests and attain the pinnacles of success.
Today, Shiv Sagar is a special place we can all call our own. It stands as a testament to the vision and ethics of our founder, Mr. Shankar Poojary, a friend to all, and a legend to many. Known for his simplicity, kind-heartedness, and philanthropy, he generously donated to several noble causes. He greatly supported his family and staff with regards to housing, education, marriage, etc., thereby setting an example for others to follow. His grit and determination to overcome the odds, and scale greater heights, fuels and inspires our team to this day, as we strive to uphold the values and mission of a boy with a dream.
The Legacy Continues
Mr. Shankar Poojary’s vision to specialise solely in pure vegetarian cuisines and flavours, and his penchant for attention to detail and customer delight, is now carried forward by his sons, Mr. Sunil S Poojary and Mr. Shridhar S Poojary. Mr. Sunil endeavours to strengthen and consolidate the fundamentals of the business, while his younger brother, Mr. Shridhar, strives to scale the business and take it to ever greater heights. Together, they are focussed exclusively on the pure vegetarian Shiv Sagar brand, to bring to their beloved guests the saga of Shiv Sagar, while preserving their father’s legacy of flavours and nostalgia.