Priyanka Chopra Jonas is on a mission to change the way Americans think about South Asian culture.
In March 2021, the actress and mom, who is married to singer Nick Jonas, opened SONA, a high-end Indian restaurant in New York City, with her business partner Maneesh Goyal. The menu offers a variety of foods from India, including Punjabi chicken salad, Bombay chicken Baida roti, Rajasthani lamb and more.
"I just want to revolutionize South Asian culture in America. I also think there isn't a culture of understanding that exists in the States with South Asian food in a gourmet luxurious way," Chopra Jonas told "Good Morning America."
"It's not from a specific region of India. Because I grew up in multiple parts of India. So that was very important to me, to have the classics that you're used to. But also, like, truffle eggs, you know? Like, truffles dosas, for example," she added. "But at the same time, you have butter chicken which is from the north."
The restaurant is a dream years in the making for not just Chopra Jonas, but for her friend and co-founder Goyal. His family settled down in Dallas two months after he was born. Goyal's father was a young Indian immigrant at the time.
"He looked around and realized there's not a single Indian restaurant in all of Texas," Goyal said. "And he opened Texas' first Indian restaurant called India House."
Four decades later and 1,500 miles away, Goyal is following in his father's footsteps.
"There will always be a link to this country that they left," he said. "And that I know from afar but with love. And now I have really codified that love by opening a restaurant in this cuisine."
Goyal brought on Chef Hari Nayak, an Indian cuisine expert who has cooked in cities around the world, including Bangalore, Bangkok, and Dubai. He shares the same pride as Jonas Chopra and Goyal do about the menu's diversity.
"When I was designing it, we wanted to take you through a journey within all the different regions of India," he said. "We want it to be adventurous."
Part of that adventure includes some Western influences, like the East Coast oysters.
"We put green garlic [on] and butter roasted oysters," Hari said. "It's always core Indian at heart. So that's very important to me."
For Chopra Jonas and Goyal, the restaurant is just the beginning. They recently launched SONA Home, a new homeware line that embodies the spirit of South Asian hospitality.
"SONA Home is a collection that is dripped and entrenched in roots that come from India but is for the modern home," she said. "It's for the home that likes to have a large table with people. And our culture's all about creating community and family."
The duo designed a 45-piece tableware collection brimming with elegance, placing careful thought into each detail and the meanings behind them.
"The palm tree's a really big motif that you see in most of the pieces," Chopra Jonas said. "Most people don't associate the palm with India. But India's very, very coastal. It's a peninsula. It's surrounded by waters of different kinds. And you see palm trees, coconut trees, everywhere."
While all the pieces draw from the pair's Indian culture, one pattern feels particularly special because it gives a nod to Goyal's mother.
"His mum had saved all of her favorite saris for his wife," Chopra Jonas said. "And when he came out to her, she was like, 'What am I going to do with the saris?' And he was like, 'I'm going to repurpose them.'"
The homeware line and food both embody the South Asian love for hosting. When it comes to the cooking, however, the actress said she leaves that to the experts.
"I'm not the best cook in the world, I'll tell you that. Me and my husband, we love entertaining," she said. "I can make great eggs. Eggs are doable. But I can't do gourmet eggs. I'm the worst cook, and my friends make fun of it. But I'm a really good host."
For Chopra Jonas and Goyal, it's not just about setting the room, but creating one that everyone can enter -- the culmination of years of hard work.
"It took a lot of pounding the pavement to try and get a seat on the table, you know? For me. It was a very solitary journey. It's not something I talk about very much because it's hard to kind of explain," Chopra Jonas said. "It's been a decade for me to be here and talk to you about a line that is inspired by my home. The fact that there should be a place on the table for every kind of culture that lives here is a really important thing for me."