Between the late 1800s and the early 1900s several immigrants from India crossed the ocean in steamships and settled in the eastern coastal regions of South Africa.
They started off as indentured labourers but soon after their contracts expired many of these Indians moved on to other careers with some becoming successful entrepreneurs.
Its was under this cultural environment that Daya and Selva would grow up and become the fine restaurateurs they are recognised as today.
As in any cuisine the environment and culture dictate the food. South Africa has a large European influence in a tropical setting. Mix that environment with Indian spices and culture and you have a unique South African Indian cuisine that is delicate, flavourful and healthy, without the redundancy and heaviness of traditional Indian cooking.
It's been a tradition in the Naidoo family for generations to embark on paths that one firmly believes in with the loved ones, and share that passion along the way. Narayanni's is one of those journeys.
Young Daya entered into a partnership with his dad at a very early age and learned through his apprenticeship that high quality and exceptional service were hallmarks of businesses that make an impact on their communities.
Selva learned through her mother what it meant to be an exceptional cook by combining the right ingredients with the right methods and all done in the right spirit.
In the early 1980s Daya and Selva emigrated to Canada with their two daughters. They established Block 1912 on Whyte Avenue, a destination well known for the quality of their fine cuisine and the exceptional service presented in a cozy environment, all within a few years.
Named after one of tehir granddaughters, Daya and Selva opened Narayanni’s Restaurant in June 2010, which has rapidly gained the reputation of being one of the finest Indian restaurants in the city for their unique and authentic South African Indian flavours.
When asked what the secret of this success was, Daya modestly replied, “My father and Selva’s mother ingrained in us the need to ensure patrons enjoy high quality food, backed up by attention to quality service with everything being offered in an elegant setting.”
And that is exactly what patrons coming to Narayanni’s enjoy on every occasion.
Time, love and months of hard work was poured into the restoration and preservation of Narayanni's building, turning it into a living piece of Edmonton Heritage.
Arndt’s Machine Shop is valued due to its modern commercial design. Modernistic architecture such as that seen in Arndt’s Machine Shop was established in Edmonton in the 1930s and 1940s, and the design ideas implicit in the style would soon spread to almost every element of Edmonton’s built environment.
The stucco finish, bowed parapet and square corner pilasters which conceal the corrugated steel barrel roof are all indicative of a modern variation on the commercial boomtown front design popular at the turn of the century, showing the transition from previous commercial design to a more modern one. The slightly textured white stucco finish is typical of these modern commercial structures. The simple utilitarian design was inexpensive to build and suited to its light industrial use.
Ted Arndt opened a blacksmith shop at this location in 1928, and is believed to have constructed this one-storey barrel roofed commercial building to replace the original building on the lot during the late 1930s or early 1940s. By the 1950s his business had evolved from a blacksmith shop to a machine shop. The business benefited from its proximity to the C & E Railway, the increased industrial development that occurred after the end of the Second World War and the discovery of oil in Alberta. The change from blacksmith to machinist reflects a broader shift from the horse-drawn age in Edmonton to the increasing mechanization that characterized the mid-20th century.