Thai restaurant shows signs of progress as owner shares details

The sign is up and the name is set for the new Thai and Vietnamese restaurant coming downtown.

The restaurant at Shriver Square will be called Pho Thai. It’s described as a Thai & Vietnamese Kitchen.

Pho Thai is owned by the Kim Chen, who also owns and operates Toyko 26 at 4511 E. 26th St. and Tokyo Japanese Cuisine at 4825 S. Louise Ave.

Chen, whose wife is from Cambodia, has traveled to the area eight times in the last four years, including recently for six weeks.

He used the trip to help with menu ideas and ingredient sourcing for the restaurant.

“I want people to try Asian fusion,” he said. “A variety of Thai, Vietnamese and a little bit of Chinese. It’s the first Thai restaurant and the first Vietnamese restaurant downtown, so I want to make it as authentic as possible.”

While he’s not quite ready to release the menu, he said customers should expect strong aromas and flavors. It won’t be an overly large menu, he added, but it will have a variety of choices in the different cuisines.

“We have five different kinds of curry, so that’s just one example,” Chen said.

“And in Thailand when you go out for street food that’s what you normally find. We have a company in Thailand I contracted for (chicken and beef) sauces, so they make the sauces and ship it to us directly. That’s how authentic it is. We want to make the pricing affordable so everybody can try. It won’t be ridiculously expensive. We don’t have a whole lot of selection, but enough selection for customers to try a little bit of everything.”

He’s bringing in chefs from New York and California for several months to train staff here, he said.

“None of my chefs are local,” he said. “They’re very specialized in that food.”

The décor of the restaurant also will be authentically Asian, he said. Many of the finishes are being imported.

“Without looking at the menu, you’ll know this restaurant is selling Asian food,” Chen said.

“When people come in, they will feel like they are in a different country trying that food, not in Sioux Falls. I want the customer to feel like they’re in a different world. That’s why we designed it so authentic.”

Construction has started, and the restaurant plans to open some time in October. It will be located in the space that was The Cookie Jar Eatery.  The Cookie Jar has moved across the hall.

“We are very excited to have it open,” Chen said. “Downtown needs it. It’s time to try something new.”

Thai restaurant shows signs of progress as owner shares details

The sign is up and the name is set for the new Thai and Vietnamese restaurant coming downtown.

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