He never wanted to do the typical ‘naukri’, he says. Ask the owner of the famous Joshi Wadewale and this is what he quips you with.
Shailesh Joshi, the man behind aaplya Punyacha McDonald’s i.e. Joshi Wadewale is your just a regular person. Only, he is also a man of big dreams in those humble eyes. Giving Pune its first taste of fast food through the staple wada pav, the man has the heart of many Punekars like me.
Sailesh gets nostalgic as he recalls, “That we didn’t want to do naukri, was certain. After marriage, it was my wife’s idea to start a wada pav centre.”
Before venturing into the wada pav business, the couple ran a xerox store for a while.
“At the xerox outlet we started keeping food items like samosa, misal, lassi and more, for there were many offices around,” says Vasundhara, wife of Shailesh. She started out with cooking these snacks herself until Joshi Wadewala happened.
In 1989, the couple switched fully to wada pav with a 175 sq ft pioneer outlet. The shop which was stark opposite Balgandharva today spreads across 2,000 sq ft.
What started as a store in a now a brand which has 17 outlets across the city. While the outlet has been in a evolve mode ever since 22 years, what hasn’t changed yet is Vasundhara’s wada pav recipe.
“All our outlets have been following the same recipe for all these years. We give this recipe to the acharya (an equivalent to the chef), so the taste has remained the same,” says Shailesh.
As a teenager, Shailesh sold gajras and kakdis (cucumber), washed cars of people to earn a livelihood. Sounds like a typical rag to riches story laced with struggle, but what makes it all the more interesting is the background of the story!
The couple who met for the first time in college went against their parents’ wish and got married. Sairat-like, they too stayed in a 12x6 shed on a terrace. It is here that they thought of the idea of a vada pav stall.
Shailesh never fails to mention how grateful he is to his guru and his wife. His guru, Vamanrao Pai has guided him with words and philosophies of life and Vasundhara has been his guiding light. He humbly calls himself the co-owner and makes sure Vasundhara has an equal share in the profits and other assets and wealth.
“She has worked very hard. Had it not been for her determination and perseverance, we wouldn’t have reached this far,” adds Shailesh.
This all-time-favourite food joint is not just visited by the college students and working-class people, but even by famous Marathi actors. From Sachin-Supriya to Sonali Kulkarni, they’ve all been-here-gorged-that.
Shailesh attributes ‘gratitude’ as the fundamental factor for his success.
“I feel grateful to the guests and my labour-force. It is them who are most important to me,” says Shailesh.
In fact, he even eats from his own outlet every alternate day to ensure the quality and taste remain intact.
“Also, we never compromise on quality. Our kitchen is hygienic and the products of good quality,” he says.
From a little tapri to a chain, Joshi Wadewale is surely a gastronomical landmark.
Information source: dna