Former Norwalk restaurant finds new home in Stamford
Phenny Sunyaluxruechai knew her former job as a waitress in a Thai restaurant in Stamford would not be her last in the city. Now, she has returned as the boss of her own downtown establishment.
Last week, Sunyaluxruechai opened InThai Restaurant at 83 Atlantic St., an eatery that showcases the fare of her native Thailand. The new establishment represents the successor to an InThai restaurant she ran for seven years on Main Avenue in Norwalk before she sold that business in December 2016.
A Norwalk resident, Sunyaluxruechai, 57, said she wanted to relocate her restaurant to a larger space and better serve her Stamford clientele. The new InThai seats about 65, compared with about 35 in the former space. Many of its regulars are Stamford residents, who work at the Merritt 7 office complex near the former InThai location, but were keen to have a location closer to home for dinner.
“I love Stamford,” Sunyaluxruechai said. “It’s my dream to come here.”
InThai’s menu features a range of noodle and soup, fried rice, crispy pork belly, Thai curry, fish and salad dishes. Perhaps its best-known plate is its drunken noodles, which consist of flat rice noodles sautéed with egg, chili, bell peppers, carrots, onions and basil.
For more information on InThai Restaurant, at 83 Atlantic St., visit www.inthairestaurant.com
The restaurant’s use of Thai herbs and dedication to dishes that are made-to-order, not frozen, set it apart from other Thai establishments, said Sunyaluxruechai and manager Nick Sirikit.
“It’s very natural — we don’t put any MSG in our food,” Sirikit said. “We do it fresh, like something you would have in Thailand.”
While it awaits its liquor license, the restaurant is letting customers bring their own beer and wine.
InThai does take-out service and plans to also offer deliveries and catering.
At 83 Atlantic St., InThai succeeds Fiesta, a Peruvian restaurant that relocated in February to 249 Main St., and a short-lived Mexican restaurant, Cielito Lindo Brothers. Sunyaluxruechai found out about the vacancy from her son-in-law who works with one of the daughters of the Fiesta owners at the Norwalk data-security firm Datto.
The interior underwent a three-month renovation before InThai opened. The improvements included the installation of new flooring, seating, bar, kitchen facilities and restrooms.
InThai’s décor reflects its cultural heritage, with portraits of the Thai royal family, stenciled pictures of gold and silver leaves of the Bodhi fig tree of Buddhism and a pair statutes of Buddhist “Thepphanom” deities or angels, who are said to have become Buddha’s protector and guardians of religious temples and artifacts.
Sunyaluxruechai knows the Stamford market well having worked for three years at the former Kit Thai Kitchen on High Ridge Road, before opening the Norwalk InThai. She immigrated to the U.S. 20 years ago from Kanchanaburi, a town near the country’s border with Myanmar that is also home of the bridge immortalized in the 1957 film “The Bridge on the River Kwai.”
InThai’s name is a play on the nickname “In” of Sunyaluxruechai’s daughter, Inthira.
Amid the fast-changing downtown restaurant scene, the InThai team aims to make a long run on Atlantic Street.
“We’re looking to provide good lunch and good dinner,” Sirikit said. “We’re confident in our food. We’re not afraid of competition because we offer real Thai food.”
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