"Can I see your ID?" asked Ramon Garcia. "What, you mean my driver's license?" I responded. "Yes, your driver's license. Someone was in here last week asking questions and wasting my time," he shot back. I flipped open my wallet, showed him my Colorado driver's license and then had to remove it from its see-through slot so that Garcia could eyeball my name and address in its entirety; neither my license photo nor my Westword business card was enough to convince this guy that I wasn't trying to sell him bibles, illegal drugs, vacuums or worse. Later, he wondered if I was planning to ask him for money. What an awkward (and weird) way to start a conversation about a restaurant -- a not-yet-open restaurant, the exterior of which is strewn with a huge banner announcing that "a beyond expectation, creative Thai eatery" is coming soon. The name? Thailicious.
See also: Denver's five best Thai restaurants
Garcia, who oversees the operations and human resources of Thailicious, didn't exactly warm up during our chat, although in his defense, prior to my arrival, he'd just met with the Orkin Pest Control man, which is probably enough to put anyone off a conversation.
In any case, the restaurant, which occupies the former Vina Pho & Grill space, is slated to open December 10 following a remodel from the Thailand-born chefs (Garcia wouldn't reveal their names), although he did divulge that they're a "romantic couple trained by popular Thai chefs" -- and that they have a background in fashion. "We're going to paint the inside, add some booths and some classy, eccentric touches that represent their fashion sense," says Garcia.
As for the menu, Garcia reveals that chiles, imported from Thailand, will set Thailicious apart from its competition. Those, and this: "At Thailicious, you'll get an extraordinary experience, which you've probably never had anywhere else." And, continues Garcia, "We're serving fresh ingredients and cooking from secret homemade recipes. It's Thai food that's delicious."
They're pursuing a liquor license, too, and if my first encounter with the place is any indication, my advice is to make sure and bring your driver's license. And a sense of humor.
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Still, Garcia did send me a contrite e-mail following our brief meeting: "I apologize for my curt behavior. It was a lack of grace on my part," it said. Apology accepted.