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Former Garland Team to Open New Raleigh Restaurant Ajja This Spring

Ajja will combine flavors of “the Mediterranean, the Middle East and beyond.”

Three women and two men standing at a marble bar.
The team from Garland is back. (From left to right: Paul Siler, Cheetie Kumar, Gaëlle Laforest, Lindsay Ogden, and Chris Gamble)
Baxter Miller
Erin Perkins is the editor of Eater Carolinas.

Chef Cheetie Kumar and partner Paul Siler, formerly of beloved restaurant Garland (14 West Martin Street, Raleigh), announced today that they will open a new spot named Ajja (209 Bickett Boulevard) this spring. The press release described the restaurant as a mix of “the Mediterranean, the Middle East and beyond,” with an emphasis on products from North Carolina farms.

The name of the establishment comes the Hindi-Urdu word for “come over,” which the group wants to signal as a “celebratory and inviting” atmosphere for the space and hospitality.

Kumar and Siler are bringing former Garland members over to Ajja. General manager Gaëlle Laforest, beverage manager Lindsay Ogden, and chef Chris Gamble will join.

After the celebrated South-Asia-meets-Southern restaurant Garland closed last August, fans have awaited Kumar and Siler’s second act, and now curious diners will have a new restaurant to explore this spring. Keep an eye out for new details as they come.