2559 W Devon Ave. Chicago, IL 60659
You may be able to observe a cooking demonstration here.
The store is named after the Sukhadia brothers who own it. Jayant Sukhadia is a first generation immigrant from South Asia. He was born in Gujarat, India. He moved to Chicago in 1997 to open a confectionery called “Sukadia Sweets” His business is global and his family owns stores in India, New Jersey and Chicago. The art of making sweets has been passed down for five generations in the Sukhadia family. Jayant brought this skill with him when he emigrated from India. He moved to New York in the late 80s. He started working with his older brother and his father who had already established "Sukhadia Sweets" in Edison, New Jersey. Jayant heard of Devon Avenue growing South Asian patrons in the late 90’s and he moved here to open this store.
The location of the entry and the sales counter divides the interior of the store into two sections, not by doors and walls but by smell, sounds and hustle bustle. Customers enter sideways into a transitional zone with some overflow seating, a few freezers, display cases of savory snacks along the wall, and the sweets counter. This is take out territory and often business is brisk at this end. Customers lean on the glass counter cases, choosing their favorite sweets, asking questions, and tasting them before buying. Those interested in eating in walk into the western side of the store in order to pay at the counter and then find a place to sit. Once the food is ready, it is announced at the pick up counter. The back zone of the store consists of the kitchen — part of it is visible from the public area. The toilets and water fountains are part of this back zone.
The smell of fried Indian savories, sounds, light, and ambience of the interior reproduces a complex somatic environment. A loud television screen at the northwestern quadrant of the store produces a high-pitched auditory ambience. Large crowds, made of multiple family groups seem to comfortably converse among themselves, at an intimate distance. The brightly lit dining area is animated.
The spatial rhythm inside Sukhadia’s changes during the day as well as seasonally. The smell, sounds and crowds create a cyclical spatial ambience that is recognized by customers, especially those who visit this store often. Sukhadia describes the ambience of Diwali, the Hindu festival season in October, when he makes special sweets from ghee (clarified butter). An aroma of ghee from the back kitchen invites the continuous swarming crowds along the takeout end. During the evenings large number of people enter the store, bringing with them a whiff of cold fall air as the double doors open and close. The pace on the eat-in side is laid back and people seem to carry on their business not really aware of the bustle and flurry on the other side.
To learn more about Jayant Sukhadia see the People Section.
Text by Arijit Sen
Sukadia Sweets website
On marriage season and sweets
Experimenting making a new sweet for the first time in US