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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Ajay Patel

London Sizzler

Ajay Patel was born in California in 1979. His parents, Surekha “Sue” and Naresh Patel, operated a hotel in California, but eventually moved the family back to London to be with extended family. Ajay’s parents opened Ajay’s Sweet Shop and raised their three children in the residence above the store.

Ajay returned to the States to attend college in Colorado, where he acquired an aviation degree. He graduated after 9/11 and had a hard time finding work. A restaurant opportunity opened up in Houston and, in 2004, the Patels opened London Sizzler, a British-style pub and curry house.

Ajay came up with the business plan, and Sue created a menu based on the traditional Indian dishes that her mother-in-law taught her. They named the restaurant after the sizzling platters upon which some of their featured dishes are served.

Date of interview:

Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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