When the Englewood building in which Noy and Rick Farrell had opened Taste of Thailand in 1994 was scheduled for demolition, rather than throw in the towel, they decided to pack up the kitchen and find a new home. After several months of construction and a brief closure (although the nearly three weeks hardly seemed brief to them), Taste of Thailand reopened at the corner of South Broadway and Evans Avenue over the weekend.
Although health-service employees from the Swedish Medical Center complex were a big part of lunch business for years, Noy Farrell says regular customers have already found the new location and helped make the opening weekend a busy one. Weekend lunch and Sunday hours are new for Taste of Thailand, and Farrell is celebrating that fact with khow mun gai, a chicken-and-rice dish served with green melon soup that's a traditional part of weekend family gatherings in Thailand.
Also new to the menu is an appetizer of northern Thai sausage served with fresh chile peppers, cucumber, herbs and lettuce wraps. It's a dish Farrell enjoyed while visiting Thailand in March, so she found a family back in Denver that makes the pork sausage, which is seasoned with lemongrass, galangal and turmeric. "You taste the herbs first — and it feels healthy for you," she explains.
The menu continues to feature longtime favorites, most of which include ingredients fresh from the Farrells' garden; right now there's garlic chives and garlic tops, mint, lovage and chive blossoms, but later in the year, there's also lemongrass, garlic bulbs, swiss chard and plenty of other leafy greens. Weekday lunch specials include a combo plate with a bowl of curry, a stir-fry dish, rice, soup and a side salad (like carrot slices with peanut sauce), all for less than $10. Almost everything is made from scratch, including the coconut milk for some of the curries, which requires cracking open and grating fresh coconut.. "It's a labor, but we want to show off what we like to make and eat," says Farrell.
Farrell's brother and sister-in-law have also worked at Taste of Thailand since the restaurant first opened nearly 21 years ago. They're all enjoying the spacious new dining room — with about sixty seats (up from 36 at the old location) — and kitchen. "We can't find anything — it's too big!" she jokes.
"It's a nice neighborhood with a good feel," says Farrell of the new location, pointing to the residential blocks to the east of the restaurant. "We want new customers too."
With Taste of Thailand's longstanding reputation and a lack of other good Asian options in the area, it shouldn't be long before the new neighbors get wind of it and start filling the place as much as at the original restaurant.
Taste of Thailand is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday from noon to 3:30 p.m., Sunday from noon to 3:00 p.m., and dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. (closing an hour earlier on Sundays).
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