YAKIMA, Wash. — Several readers emailed me today asking why the New Thai Restaurant closed recently.
Turns out the closure was driven by some big life changes for the Ly family, which has owned and operated the restaurant for more than 20 years.
The restaurant’s last day was Saturday, said Sean Ly, son of owners Khanh and Oanh Ly.
His parents wanted to retire, Sean said.
The parents wanted Sean and his brother Kirk, who have been working at the restaurant, to take over the business. But the brothers will be moving to Vietnam, where the family emigrated from three decades ago, to start a brewery.
There’s a lot of support, such as tax breaks, for those who start breweries there, Ly said.
“We decided it was a great opportunity,” he said.
The restaurant will clearly be missed. New Thai Restaurant started in 1990 when Oanh Ly decided to apply the cooking skills she gained from working at a Thai restaurant in Seattle.
The restaurant started out in a small space at 40th and Summitview avenues. After seven years there, the family spent nearly $800,000 to build a new restaurant at its current location at 4808 Tieton Drive.
The building will remain a restaurant — though it won’t be serving Thai food. John Neidhardt, a Yakima real estate agent, confirmed that the owners of the El Porton chain will close on the purchase of the building Tuesday. The building will be remodeled over several months and serve as the new home for its West Yakima location. El Porton has been nearby at 420 S. 48th Ave.