Laxman Murdeshwar, owner of Thane’s iconic Mamledar Misal, passed away on Tuesday. He was 85. The business that Laxman’s father Narsingh Murdeshwar started by dishing out the spicy street staple in the canteen of then Mamledar (case holder) officer in 1952, grew into a chain of 20 outlets in Mumbai and Thane.
What drew customers to the restaurant was the unrelentingly spicy Misal, always served with multiple glasses of water. The fiery red Misal, sprinkled with finely chopped onion and served with two pavs, is the signature dish that has maintained its taste over the decades.
The generous sprinkling of spices in the Misal is graded as very spicy, medium and less spicy. Eating up the “very spicy” dish became a sort of sport among Misal lovers over the years.
Fondly called Laxman Mama Murdeshwar, he came to Thane from Murdeshwar in Karnataka at the age of four. He is credited with standardising the operations of the place and formalising the recipes of the dishes served after he took over the business following his father’s death. The mantle has now been passed on to Laxman’s son Damodar.
Anand Ralegankar, a consultant with the Misal chain, said that there were expansion plans on the cards. “It was started by Laxman Mama Murdeshwar’s parents. His mother first prepared Misal with the idea of providing a wholesome meal to people at an affordable price. They ran the canteen in the Mamledar office in Thane and it gradually gained popularity and became a household name.”
Laxman was in good health until recently, Ralegankar added. He, however, fell ill last Monday and was admitted to a hospital. The nature of his illness is yet to be known, said Ralegankar.
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