That’s Just Naansense

Appears in the May 2024 issue.

By Peter Gianopulos

Naperville’s new spot for authentic Indian flavors

Thali platter
Thali platter

You’re headed out for a burrito? Again? No. No. No. Spring is a time for new beginnings, isn’t it? And Hiran Patel, owner of the new Indian-American mashup Naansense, is on a mission to prove that Indian chefs can “wrap” with the best of them.

Patel specializes in naan wraps, the soft and fluffy flatbread that’s a staple in Indian cooking. More flavorful than a flour tortilla. More sturdy than a roti. More pillowy than pita. And as an added bonus, Patel’s wraps are infused with garlic and packed to the gills with sweet-spicy fixings inspired by Indian street fare.

Simply pick your protein—chicken, shrimp, lamb, paneer, or veggie kebabs—and then choose among the rainbow assortment of add-ons. Perhaps a touch of green mint chutney? A ladle of garlic yogurt? Green and red-cabbage desi slaw? Maybe a scoop of kachumbari, India’s beloved cucumber, tomato, and onion salad.

And that’s a wrap. You’ve got yourself an authentic naan-wich.

Patel’s entire menu at Naansense reads like an edible autobiography of his personal culinary journey. Growing up in Chicago, he drifted toward all the cliched Chi-town staples. Burgers. Fries. Italian beef. (“You should really taste my Indian take on Italian beef,” he notes). But as a teenager, while visiting India for a family wedding, his uncle Mahendra Patel treated him to a life-changing evening sampling street food in Surat, located along the western coast of India in the state of Gujarat. “Everything for me,” Hiran says, “changed in that moment.”

His initial Naansense outposts in Chicago proved that he could repackage authentic Indian flavors into bowls, wraps, and snacks.

Now in Naperville, he’s pushing that idea further by offering mashups you can’t find anywhere else. Masala fries. Korma-style curry bowl (made with homemade cashew fig milk). And Indian lamb sliders. He’s hoping to pay his passions forward by introducing suburban diners to the wonders of the Indian table, one innovative meal at a time.


Photo: Naansense Photography