Community Businesses and Their Stories: "Buy Local"Eat, Drink, Play May 27, 2022

Meet Santi and Surin, Founders of Thai Place Restaurant in Wexford, PA

Their love of cooking along with a lack of Thai restaurants in Pittsburgh in 1980 created a change in direction for founders Surin and Santi Thamwiwat, who worked in the fields of medical research and structural engineering, respectively. Holding weekly Steelers game parties where Surin cooked and gaining lots of requests from friends and work associates who wanted more of their food, led them to step out and give it a try while holding on to their day jobs. Their customers, fans and even movie stars and their crews have been happy ever since.

Describe your business

Genuine Thai food. Established recipes from the founder and the chefs at the leading hotels in Bangkok.

What made you decide to open this business?

With Surin working in the medical profession and Santi as a structural engineer, we loved to host Steeler parties. Surin loves to cook and their friends and colleagues raved about the food. In 1979, there were really no Thai restaurants in Pittsburgh, so we experimented doing it for 3 months. The restaurant had great success and we have been doing it ever since with numerous locations, of which Wexford is the latest.

What is something most people don’t know about the business?

We had leading chefs from 5 star hotels in Thailand come and teach us for 3 months when we got started. They emphasized fresh cooking of individual orders, not large batches and we have stuck with that process.

The other aspect of our restaurant is the genuine Thai art and artifacts including gold leaf in our tables!

What are some odd requests you’ve had from clients?

We became a favorite of movie stars in films being shot in Pittsburgh, like Peter Falk, Woody Harrelson (he likes his food spicy.) They would call at the end of a shoot and ask to come in after normal closing hours for privacy and to enjoy the food without interruptions from fans. We have also had sport stars like Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and local favorite Troy Polamalu enjoy our food.

What do you love most about the neighborhood?

Wexford had always been a booming place with lots of change and activity. Our customers are especially polite and cordial and we love the chance to serve them and interact with them.

Note: This article is about Thai Place. Please visit their profile page to find more information and review the business.