Cafes to shopping stores: Is Sainikpuri's Avenue Road the new Jubilee Hills Road No 45?

Life has become easy for people living in and around Sainikpuri. From Monginis to 5th Avenue Bakers to F3 Bistro Café, they are spoiled for choices.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  29 Jan 2022 11:54 AM GMT
Cafes to shopping stores: Is Sainikpuris Avenue Road the new Jubilee Hills Road No 45?

Hyderabad: A middle-aged woman and her daughter walk into Monginis cake shop near the Defence Colony in Sainikpuri, Secunderabad. The mother asks the lady at the counter if they have a chocolate doughnut to which the latter replies no. The mother immediately turns to her daughter and asks her if she would like to have a vanilla one instead. But the girl is stubborn. So the two walk out of the shop to check 5th Avenue Bakers, situated just two shops away.

Life has become easy for people living in and around Sainikpuri. From Monginis to 5th Avenue Bakers to F3 Bistro Café, they are spoiled for choices.

Twenty-five years ago, when 5th Avenue Bakers was set up, it was a one-of-a-kind bakery in the area. "When I was three, I used to come here with my parents. I still love the Chicken Tikka here. I also used to enjoy the softy ice creams that they used to sell in those days," says Divya, a regular customer of 5th Avenue Bakers for over 25 years.

5th Avenue Bakers sells all types of vegetarian and non-vegetarian snacks from plain vegetable puffs to chicken spring rolls, from colourful, mouth-watering cakes and pastries of different flavours to packed snacks like tapioca chips and moon-shaped cookies.

The bakery is open from 9 a.m to midnight. "People keep coming till midnight. If we keep it open beyond 12, I am sure there would still be people visiting the shop," says Aslam Ahmed Ali, a 65-year-old employee at 5th Avenue Bakers. He starts work at 3 p.m and it goes on till 1 a.m when the shop is cleaned and shut down for the day.

Waiting for his parcel at the delivery area, a retired bank officer, Debashish Chatterjee, says, "I have been living in this area for the last 30 years. I am a regular customer here. Of course, back then we used to get it for Rs. 5 or Rs. 10 but what has not changed is the quality of the food that they serve."

Back at Monginis, Anjali, the lady at the counter, takes off the plastic covering a chicken roll and places it inside the oven to heat it. "Monginis is branded and everything is fresh here. So we don't face any drop in sales due to other cafes and bakeries in the area," says Anjali while serving the customers.

A booming cafe scene

In 2010, with the setting up of Cafe Coffee Cup behind the Bharat Petroleum Petrol Pump in Sainikpuri, the first cafe in the area, cafe culture also came to Sainikupuri. The Coffee Cup is a place where you can read a novel while sipping a cup of freshly-brewed aromatic coffee. It also houses a library, has board games, and hosts weekend music and stand-up comedy shows. As the cafe itself puts it, "It's a place where time comes to a standstill; where the bustle of life is forgotten and the smell of freshly brewing coffee overwhelms your senses."

Mohammed Javed, a resident of Saket apartment in Sainikpur, says, "When I was 16 or 17, Coffee Cup was launched, which was the first cafe in the area. Instead of going to the city to get a cup of coffee, we started going to Coffee Cup. Now there are a lot of cafes in the area. We have Groove 9 and F3 Bistro. People enjoy coming in the evening, sitting here, having coffee, then taking a walk along the street, back to their homes."

Just outside 5th Avenue Bakers sits Rajnayi from Hyderabad and Jaibhir from UP who run a mehendi and tattoo stall. As he draws designs on both hands of the girl sitting in front of him, Jaibhir says, "This area has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Now we also get a lot of customers. In fact, free time nahi milte hai, sirf sleeping time milte hai (We don't get free time anymore, except sleeping hours)."

The street also houses hangout places-cum-eateries like Kebabwala and Co, F3 Bistro cafe, Thick Shake Factory, Baskin Robbins, and even Sri Sai Ram Hot Chips where a man can be seen frying banana chips in hot, sizzling oil.

If you are not in the mood to sit down and eat or if you want something healthy, then worry not because there are stalls selling refreshing coconut water and fresh fruits.

Mohammed Shefi from Bidar in Karnataka came to Hyderabad around 15 years ago and set up a fruit stall along the roadside. "These shops and cafes nearby weren't there when I first came here. In the last three-four years, this area has seen a complete change," says Shefi.

The street also has an Urban Mart, a supermarket, Naturals beauty salon, an Apollo medical shop, a photo studio among other facilities. "Earlier, we had to go either to Kushaiguda (around 5 km from Sainikpuri) or Mona Market in Secunderabad to get groceries. Later, two shops came up and they started looting us because we didn't have other choices. But now we don't face any such problems," says Debashish.

Dangerous roads

The people of Sainikpuri are happy that they have choices when it comes to shopping and eating out. But it also came at a cost. The roads here have become less safe and have been witnessing frequent accidents.

"Every day, at least one or two accidents happen here," says Shefi. He also explains how there are long lines of vehicles parked by the roadside.

Javed feels that the roads are less crowded today because it's Republic Day. "Public transport is not available in this area, so people take their vehicles and come out. There will be a huge rush especially on weekends and also during peak hours around 6-7 in the evening," he adds.

Javed and his friend came in a car. But elderly Debashish who lives in a lane on the opposite side of 5th Avenue Bakers had to cross the road and come. "Crossing roads has become very difficult for senior citizens like me. Youngsters on motorbikes come at frightening speeds. Another thing to note is that in this entire stretch, there is not a single speed-breaker," he explains.

Debashish also points out how the area is poorly connected with other parts of the city due to the lack of public transport facilities. "My children live in Hitec City. But I am unable to go and visit them as there are no buses or Metro services in this area," he says.

The nearest Metro station is either Tarnaka or Parade Ground, located 10 km and 8 km away, respectively.

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