Connoisseurs of Asian cuisine welcomed a popular local chef to Okemos when New Thai Kitchen opened in the former Sip N' Snack in December.
While Ying Xiong had intended to retired after closing the long-time Thai Kitchen in East Lansing two years ago, he couldn't resist the allure of serving up food in the previous space of the iconic Okemos diner.
"It's close to everything," says Xiong who lives in Okemos. "It's close to local shopping, and to residential places. And it's at the center of town."
Xiong and his wife, Chou, acquired the space at 4960 Okemos Road last June and undertook several months of renovations before the official ribbon cutting in January. He estimates he spent upward of $80,000 to knock down walls, upgrade fixtures and systems, outfit the kitchen with new equipment, and set the stage for dining through an inviting, modern décor.
"It's roomy but cozy," says Xiong. "We may expand, too, depending on how well it goes."
New Thai has attracted former customers from Xiong's East Lansing location, and has sparked the curiosity of suburban residents. The restaurant comfortably seats 48 people, with a capacity for 50.
Xiong employs a staff of six and serves lunch and dinner. The menu features traditional Thai fare including three types of Pad Thai, Pad Kee Mao and Panang. Eventually, Xiong hopes to add a beer and wine license.
"We have a lot of different flavors and a different style of cooking than other Thai places," says Xiong. "I do a lot of the cooking myself, and learned over the years from my friends."
Source: Ying Xiong, Owner, New Thai Kitchen
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor
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