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Wild Bangkok Bar and Grill opens downtown

Wild Bangkok Bar and Grill opened last Thursday at 1630 Welton Street. That's the former Chopsticks & Sushi space, which was the unseemly site of a murder scene back in October when

Chopsticks & Sushi owner Yan de Yang allegedly shot and killed Lloyd Running Bear II

.

While Yang hangs behind bars, new owners Kirk Coult and his wife Paula Rungsawang have spent the past several months sprucing up the place. Rungsawang, who is Thai but spent several years cooking in Australia and California, is the executive chef. According to Coult, her cooking style is "very different" from what you find in other Thai kitchens. "We use no MSG, we source organically whenever possible, our fish is mostly wild-caught and Paula's food is a lot healthier than most Thai food," he explains.

The couple, who traveled frequently to Denver before opening the restaurant, say that while they enjoyed their trips to the city, they were disappointed by the dearth of downtown Thai restaurants. "We came out here a few times and just fell in love with Denver, but we also noticed that there weren't a lot of Thai restaurants downtown," says Coult. "We knew that Denver would be a great place to open our restaurant, but at the time, we were busy with other projects, and we were still looking for the perfect location."

That's when he found the shuttered Chopsticks & Sushi. "We looked at a number of different spaces, but being close to the foot traffic on the 16th Street Mall was key, so when this opportunity came up, we took it," he says.

The space, now painted in vivid purple and yellow hues, boasts a juice bar, several organic bottlings on the wine list, two daily happy hours (3 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m.), live entertainment on weekends and traditional khontoke seating, community-style dining around low-set tables that's popular in Thailand's northern region.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily; for more info, call 303-623-4999 or visit www.wildbangkokbarandgrill.com.

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