It was a gloomy day in October, but bright, beautiful and exciting for The Globe’s new owners. After months of remodeling, it was time to open the restaurant. It was slow at first, but soon enough it would become a bastion of Madison for people to enjoy global cuisines.
Right off State Street on North Henry, the restaurant sits tucked away despite being adjacent to the busiest street in the state’s capital. Most people wouldn’t even realize there is a restaurant where The Globe resides due to its off-the-beaten-path location and hole-in-the-wall feel.
The Globe is considered a local staple, despite challenges with its location, and is home to some of the best smells and sounds of Madison.
One sound that rings through the restaurant regularly is the “food is ready bell,” said Suzy Karki, one of the owners of The Globe.
“When people come here…there is a doorbell ring sound there, you have that. There’s always music in here,” Karki said. “And the crowd and a lot of loud noise. You cannot hear sometimes because it is very crowded.”
She says it gets so packed and loud in her restaurant she often needs to repeat herself five times.
The sounds she described are typical in a restaurant — but The Globe has its own twist. Students from UW–Madison clamor as they enter the restaurant, eagerly waiting for the delicious food they are about to devour, while Karki’s native Nepali music plays in the background.
While all those loud festivities are occurring in the restaurant, the aroma of unique smells from the spices and curry is apparent the second you walk in.
“Some of the spices I cannot buy here. We have to get it from Nepal,” Karki said.
The smell of all the spices and different flavored curries is an essential element of the tiny joint and certainly hard to miss.
Karki’s husband, Ashim Malla, is her partner in crime. He is the other owner cooking up the delicious curries you smell when entering the restaurant. He went to culinary school and always dreamed of owning a restaurant.
Back in January of 2018, Malla and Karki bought Triangle Market, at 302 State St., a food mart and convenience store right across the street. Later that year, in mid-October, they bought the space that currently occupies The Globe. There was no bathroom in Triangle Market, and Karki began to feel bad about her employees always going to other restaurants and stores nearby just to use the restroom.
When she had the opportunity to rent the space out, she seized it. Karki went on to write a business plan for the restaurant and the rest is history.
In addition to the great food and unique atmosphere of The Globe, the restaurant prides itself on having a great sense of community. This stems from Karki and Malla’s childhoods.
“We grew up in a very close-knit community where everybody knew everybody,” Karki said. “There [were] a lot of…different cultures, heritages, different religions, different financial statuses, but they are very close-knit and that’s what I wanted to bring in here where people can just feel home so you don’t be left out.”
She also attributed the restaurant's ever-changing menu to this sense of community. Karki and Malla want everyone to feel included by offering a variety of different options so everyone can enjoy their food.
“Right now, we have about 17 different countries’ food, but we would like to add,” Karki said, when referencing the variety of options on the menu. “We just want to bring people together just like how the globe is represented.”
The duo even took it a step further during COVID-19. Although it was a nightmare for most restaurant owners, Karki recalled times during the pandemic being some of her favorite memories as owner of The Globe.
“I remember during COVID time we offered free food for people who couldn’t purchase…and there were so many people who came and gave us more than what the food cost so we could give [food] to the community,” Karki said. “During that time, for about six months, we did that. Pay whatever you can. If you don’t have money, you don’t have to pay.”
She also added it didn’t matter who you were. You could have been a student, homeless or a worker at a rival restaurant. All they wanted to do was give back to the city.
“We would like to help the community. We are not very greedy people,” Karki said. “But we are comfortable and want to give it to people who are in need.”
Karki and Malla do an excellent job of achieving their goal of bringing people together, according to Julian Callegari. Callegari, a junior at UW–Madison, loves The Globe and ventures over to one of his favorite restaurants whenever he wants a special meal.
“It feels like you are getting a home-cooked meal. It doesn’t feel like you are at a restaurant,” Callegari said.