Lala Sheikh’s founder Mehboob Ali left his rich legacy behind
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Lala Sheikh’s founder Mehboob Ali left his rich legacy behind

Post by Irfan Yattoo on Thursday, May 11, 2023

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Srinagar, May 10: Face behind the Srinagar iconic, Lala Sheikh Café, Sheikh Mehboob Ali died due to cardiac arrest on Wednesday. As per family members, he suffered cardiac arrest at his work place in Lal Chowk.

 Fayaz Ahmad, a close family member told Rising Kashmir that Sheikh, 85 suffered cardiac arrest on Wednesday and that time he was busy with regular work.

“Following the attack, he was immediately rushed to SHMS hospital where doctors declared him brough dead at arrival,” he said.

Lala Mohammad Sheikh, a young man from the Budgam village of Handjan, founded the shop 'Lala Shikh and Sons'  in 1890 and quickly gained a reputation for its bakery items.

In his interview with Rising Kashmir in 2017, Ali told Rising Kashmir that for the past 72 years he along with his family was running the iconic restaurant in Srinagar.

“Cream pastries, cakes, chocolates, and imported cakes from the USA used were famous here. Currently chicken patties and tea are famous here,” he said.

Ali said people still used to come here and I am happy with our work. Earlier we used to close our shop at midnight but now work is less and we are trying to survive it,” he said.

Presently, fourth generation of Lala Sheikh that include three brothers namely Sheikh Altaf, Sheikh Javeed and Sheikh Mehboob Ali were there the shop.

Notably, Lala Sheikh gained its reputation quite early as it became famous for its bakery and it was well-known for it.

The customers are mostly salaried professionals, traders, students, writers, street vendors. There’s also an occasional bureaucrat or politician.

There were just a few shops around. In fact, Lala Sheikh’s earliest customers were local shopkeepers. As government offices started coming up around the Bund, though, business boomed.

The bakery was very popular for its pastries and chicken patties, with many people visiting the shop, especially during the time when an English Resident lived at the Residency – now the Emporium Garden.

 It was this residency that made the road Residency Road. Politicians and foreigners also used to visit the shop to taste the bakery items. Lala has been serving customers since 1890 and has become the region's iconic restaurant.

The shop was the central point of many visitors including journalists, social workers, students, book lovers, writers, academicians, and others.

It has witnessed some of the fiercest literary and political discussions in Kashmir.

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