Women at Work: Leena Shenoy, owner of Passage to India


Tucked away in Harrisburg's Shipoke neighborhood is an ethnic restaurant that has brought unique flavor to the Capitol city for 25-years.

Behind the business' success is Leena Shenoy.

If you've ever eaten at her restaurant then you know how flavorful the food is and how beautiful the decor looks.

But owner of Passage to India, Leena Shenoy has a fascinating story of her own.

She's a graduate of Parsons School of Design and has traveled to 67 countries.

The mother of two also lost her husband in 2011, and that’s when Leena became a business owner.

"For me that is like I am carrying his legacy and his dream forward,” says Leena.

"Whatever savings we had in the bank at that time, we just put everything in with zero in the bank," she says.

And on top of that, they were bringing a new flavor to the Shipoke neighborhood.

"Oh they said this is a meat and potatoes place, don't unpack your bags. Six-months you're going to go back to New York," she says.

Leena is now celebrating 25-years of business.

“Whatever happens, the prices go up, the prices go down of the vegetables, the groceries. Never cut corners in the quality of the food," says Leena.

Perhaps that's what's kept Merry Ann Kish coming to the restaurant for 20 years!

"The food is so good and they are so nice in here," says Merry Ann Kish.

If you've never tried Indian food, Leena describes what it tastes like.

"It can be very spicy, it can be medium spicy, it can be a little sweet and sour, ya know? But the basic gravy of the Indian food is made with onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic."

And if you have room for dessert, Merry Ann recommends something sweet.

"Oh, the rose and mango ice-cream. It is out of this world. The rose ice-cream tastes exactly like a cream rose would smell,” says Kish.

Leena says the business takes hard work, but seeing her customers happy is one of the greatest parts.

Leena has also raised over $40,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through fundraising.

And if running a restaurant isn't keeping her busy enough, Leena is now training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

That's an adventure she has planned for this spring.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off