I try to fact-check each and every rumor related to Indian food that reaches me. So when someone mentioned in June that eClinicalWorks, an electronic medical records company in Westborough, had a dedicated cafeteria that served nothing but, I made plans to drop by for lunch.
The rumor turned out to be only part true.
eClinicalWorks, founded in 1999, sells cloud-based software that helps doctors and hospitals keep digital files on their patients — and also collect the money they’re owed from insurers. It’s privately held, with 850 employees in Westborough, and about 2,100 based elsewhere. The founders, including CEO Girish Navani, are all Indian, as are a significant slice of the employees.
So the cafeteria, it turns out, offers an Indian lunch option and soup every day. But there’s also a traditional salad bar and plenty of mainstream options like tuna melts, cheeseburgers, and veggie lasagna.
When I visited last Thursday, the entrée was pav baji, a vegetarian curry with a powerful kick to it, served with buttered and grilled hamburger buns. The soup was toor dal, a pea soup, and crispy papadum crackers were available, too. (It was among the best meals I’ve had from a company cafeteria — and I’ve eaten at the Googleplex, that Mountain View corporate dining mecca.)
Navani explains that he’s a vegetarian, and so he likes having lots of vegetarian options available. “You can eat vegetarian food cooked Indian style and not get bored,” he says. When the company moved into its current digs in 2011, Navani made sure that Indian food became a part of the lunchtime offering (and on some days, breakfast, too.) Chef Mike Gonzalez, who works for the Boston food service firm Unidine, has been building his Indian repertoire since taking the job, including chana stew, vegetable biryani, and tandoori chicken. In the afternoon, starting at 2 p.m., chai tea is available.
Navani says that he had a special tandoor oven installed in the kitchen, but that it doesn’t produce Indian breads like naan — mainly because it’s hard to keep with the demand from employees.
I wish I’d stayed for tea time, but there were other rumors to investigate.
Scott Kirsner writes the Innovation Economy column every Sunday in the Boston Globe, in which he tracks entrepreneurship, investment, and big company activities around New England.
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