Long Beach’s Acura Grand Prix may have seen some serious changes to its food and drink options this year. But the last is a culinary business that still lingers at the three-day event:
The House of Pistachios has been a fixture at Grand Prix for more than 20 years, usually setting up shop each year near the exhibition hall of the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center. It offers a range of gourmet products, including buttery toffee nuts, a variety of seasoned pistachios, salt-water taffy, and fresh dried fruits.
But its origins are far more humble.
In its early days, House of Pistachios, which was launched in 1986, was a simple business that sold — you guessed it — pistachios. And its owners, Vinnie and Nina Sehgal, operate it from their inland Empire apartment.
The couple opened the business after immigrating from India to assist with homeschooling their four children.
“My parents and siblings will be packing bags at our apartment to sell,” said IG Sehgal, one of the couple’s sons, who now co-own the business with his brother Ravi. “We’ll go to local county fairs, festivals and grand prix.”
Today the business stands on a national level.
Their products, IG Sehgal said, have been popular at the Orange County Fair for years.
But the House of Pistachios is now featured on grocery store shelves—so making the trek to local fairs is no longer a necessity.
But the family, which still lives in the inland kingdom, does it anyway, IG Sehgal said on Friday, especially at the grand prix.
Even Vinnie Sehgal, who has since retired, will be working behind the stands this weekend.
“My family has been blessed with success. But it has become a tradition for me to stay here,” said IG Sehgal. “We started here more than 20 years ago.
“We want to serve the community that has shown us so much love.”