The first South Asian restaurant in town, according to the website Asian American History in NYC, was the Ceylon India Inn, founded near Times Square in 1913. The restaurateur was K. Yaman Kira, a retired dancer and circus performer from Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), and the place catered to South Asian factory and dock workers, students, political exiles, and Indian sailors known as “lascars,” many of whom lived in nearby boarding houses.

A Sri Lankan dancer began the restaurant. Yaman Kira, who was born in the (now Sri Lankan) city of Kandy in 1884, toured the United States as a circus performer and dancer on more than one occasion, even living in Bridgeport, Connecticut with the circus group when they weren’t traveling around the country. In 1913, he married a German immigrant named Elizabeth Eckhard and settled down.

It is speculated that marriage had perhaps tamed Kira’s spirit and he moved to New York with his wife. They opened the restaurant, moved to the new location, and welcomed everyone who walked in through their restaurant’s doors. Over a few accounts have noted that Ceylon India Inn became a meeting point for the South Asian community in and around Manhattan.

The successor to Ceylon India Inn at 148 West 49th Street in 1996 was Bombay Masala, which still exists. As a result, it now lays dubious claim to being the oldest Indian restaurant in the city.

According to;; Source of photos: internet