The Globe Restaurant serves Thai, Indian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan and Mexican food in a tiny space just off State Street.
Its owner, Ashim Malla, bought the Triangle Market across the street in January and took over the space at 309 N. Henry St., that was formerly Taqueria 3 Amigos, three months ago.
He opened The Globe Oct. 15 with his wife, Sujata Karki, after extensive remodeling. Karki has a job in health care and is rarely at the restaurant, but Malla's mother, Ramila Malla, prepares bento boxes and a couple of other menu items, as well as The Globe's two soups.
Malla's father, Narayan Malla, works mostly at Triangle Market on State Street, but occasionally helps out at The Globe.
The family is from Nepal, but Malla met his wife, who is also Nepali, in Madison eight years ago.
Malla, 31, said he has at least 30 family members in Madison. He's the nephew of Rajan Pradhan, and worked at Pradhan's Atwood Avenue restaurant, Dobhan, for eight years, doing catering, festivals and specials. He also worked at Himal Chuli, owned by the Pradhan family, for three years, with some overlap between the two restaurants.
Pradhan is trying to sell Dobhan, and Malla was interested in buying it, but the men couldn't work out an agreement, Malla said.
Malla is 30 credits short of getting an associates degree from Madison Area Technical College in culinary arts. When he first came to Madison at age 21, he studied English at WESLI. He later studied business at Lakeland College.
With The Globe, he plans to change his menu, displayed from video monitors above the counter, every six months. Malla tries to be responsive to what his customers want.
Recently, someone asked for mango curry, so he went out and bought some mangoes and whipped up a batch the next day. He said it went over so well he may add it to the menu. He just added jambalaya. "I play with the menu a lot," he said.
Since he opened, Malla's been giving out a free cup of soup with every order, whether it's a small plate or entrée. "I was thinking since winter is starting, soup would be a good thing to give away. So I'm doing that throughout the winter."
The Globe's Himalayan 15-bean soup actually has more than 15 types of beans. "We named it 15 beans, but somehow we keep adding a little bit just to play around and see which one might be better. So now we've ended up with 16 or 17 beans, but we're still calling it 15 beans. I think 15 sounds much better."
The other soup is coconut cauliflower chowder. Both of them are vegan and gluten free.
The Tibetan dumplings are one of the most popular menu items along with the chow mein noodles, the spicy chicken pita sandwich, Indian curry and Thai coconut curry, Malla said.
"The menu is really small and I've been selling pretty much everything so far, except a few things," Malla said, noting that not many customers ask for the Japanese soba noodles.
Most of the businesses that have been in the space in the past have done mostly takeout, but Malla said he's changing that.
About half of his business is with customers dining in. He said he can fit 20 people at the same time and has been seeing some sit-down customers from nearby offices. He can seat 14 customers at four tables and another six people at a counter.
Malla keeps his prices low. A samosa is $3, and other appetizers or small plates run $4 to $7. Curries with tofu are $11, with chicken or pork they're $12, and with shrimp they're $14.