WATCH: CBS News Profiles Wyo I-80 Indian Restaurant
You wouldn't expect to see a CBS News crew at a truck stop in Wyoming, but this isn't your typical truck stop. Tucked in the back of the Akal Travel Center off of Interstate 80 near Laramie, there is an Indian restaurant that's getting national attention.
Akal owner Mintu Pandher was featured on CBS News Sunday Morning this week, discussing his unconventional plan to serve Indian cuisine in the middle of nowhere. When Pandher bought the business in 2014, some customers at the tiny truck stop 22 miles west of Laramie didn't know what they were eating. Often they would order "what I ate last time...I want that meal. I don't know what it was named, but this guy, he gave it to me. I think it's number 29."
"It's bringing the world here rather than keeping our world small," Albany County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Yates told CBS correspondent Jim Axelrod.
As word of mouth spread, Akal became a popular under-the-radar destination for truckers looking for something different along the Interstate. Five years later, Pandher's Indian cuisine is no longer under-the-radar. He recently opened a second truck stop on Interstate 80 in Nebraska and plans to expand in New Mexico next year.
Pandher isn't the only business owner serving international cuisine along I-80 in Wyoming. 96 miles east, the Antelope Truck Stop Pronghorn outside of Burns also has an Indian restaurant which attracts customers from around the region.