Modern Cafe, Esplanade
Modern Cafe, Esplanade

Featured here is the Modern Café,which was one of a chain of restaurants begun by K. Seetharama Rao, before he founded the Dasaprakash Hotel on Poonamallee High Road. Modern Café, Mysore (by appointment to HH The Maharajah) was the first. Modern Café, Madras, came next, by the early 1930s. Then followed Modern Hindu Hotel, with two outlets, one each in Mysore and Ootacamund.

The Madras one featured here was on Esplanade Road (now NSC Bose Road). It made its name catering to the lawyers of the High Court. In its heyday, the Modern Café ran a hotel at Hari Nivas, Thambu Chetty Street, and also two other restaurants called Modern Café, one in Egmore and the other at Basin Bridge. Seetharama Rao, whose motto was service, also began the first organised canteen on the Marina, next to the swimming pool, thanks to the encouragement of O. Pulla Reddy, Commissioner of the Corporation of Madras, in the 1940s.

You may want to read about these lost landmarks as well:


The Eastern and Western Castlets

The Madras Bulwark