Green Mango

At the Green Mango, Mahesh Pandey uses his years of experience to give classic Indian dishes his own twist. “I first started cooking when I was 8 or 9, helping my mother in the kitchen,” Mahesh said. Since then, he has used a combination of traditional Indian recipes, intuition, and experimentation to improve the dishes to his liking. “My samosas are rated best in Florida, and in the United States,” Mahesh said. “People have been all over, and they tell me mine are still the best.”

Mahesh settled in Gainesville in 1991, and for years owned a brick and mortar restaurant of the same name. He started selling take-out Indian food at the Haile Farmers Market in 2007. “I don’t like to work for somebody else,” he said. “I wanted to be self-sufficient.”

Selling food at the Green Mango also allows Mahesh to fulfill his passion for exposing people to vegetarian food that not only tastes great, but can make them feel better, too. “I want to help people eat healthier,” Mahesh said. “I feel good when people have a smile on their face. That’s the reason I come, to offer a vegetarian option.”