Jersey City Restaurant Owner Found Murdered in Her Home

Garima Kothari, chef/owner of the Indian restaurant Nukkad, was found unresponsive in her Jersey City apartment on Sunday.

Garima Kothari, chef/owner of Nukkad in Jersey City.

Garima Kothari, food writer and owner of the fast-casual Indian restaurant Nukkad in Jersey City, was found dead in her home on Sunday, April 26. Kothari, 35, was five months pregnant.

Shortly after finding Kothari in her downtown Jersey City apartment, authorities found her husband, Man Mohan Mall, 37, dead in an apparent suicide in the Hudson River, according to Hudson County prosecutor Esther Suarez. Kothari’s death has been ruled a homicide, in what appears to be the result of a murder-suicide, said the prosecutor.

In February, Kothari opened Nukkad (meaning “street corner” in Hindi) in Jersey City’s Paulus Hook neighborhood. The Covid-19 lockdown forced her to close her doors in late March. Kothari re-opened Nukkad for pickup and delivery orders by mid-April, and delivered donated meals to healthcare workers at the Jersey City Medical Center.

“Yet another tough decision—Nukkad is up and running—even on Sundays now,” she wrote in an April 19 Facebook post. “I would so appreciate the support of the community at this point of time!”

Kothari followed a nontraditional route to becoming a chef, beginning her career working as an investment banker in India. In 2010, she auditioned to be on “Master Chef: India” and was one of the top 15 finalists. After her experience on the cooking competition show, Kothari studied pastry and baking at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. After graduation she worked as a pastry chef and event planner before opening Breaking Bread Co., a catering company in Jersey City. She then opened Nukkad with her husband.

In addition to being the chef/owner of Nukkad, Kothari wrote about food for publications such as Food52, Wine4Food and The Kitchn.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor at 201-915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip on the Hudson County Prosecutor’s official website.

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