A little over a year after opening their successful restaurant Thaihey thaifood in Baton Rouge, couple Orawin “Nim” Yimchalam and Nathan Greene have closed shop on Lee Drive for a move to New Orleans, drawn in part by a prime French Quarter address “too good to be turned down,” Greene says.
The couple first shared the news of their move on Instagram in August, announcing at the same time their last service at the Baton Rouge restaurant. The consequences have been bittersweet, Greene told Eater, saying the reception they received when they announced their closure made them even more grateful to their customers in Baton Rouge.
Still, the opportunity to move their business to the French Quarter address – 308 Decatur Street, which previously housed the second Envie cafe outpost – was too good to pass up. “We had fought around the idea of New Orleans, either moving or opening a second restaurant, so we were keeping an eye out,” says Greene. “We saw this perfect place that was just ready to go, and we decided there wouldn’t be a better time than now.”
The pair are now in space, receiving equipment shipments and painting the interior, preparing for a mid to late October opening. “Things are moving forward,” says Greene. Yimchalam is the chef at Thaihey, building the menu of modern Vietnamese dishes, a concise range of items including fried frog legs marinated in red curry; hang waw soup, or spicy and sour oxtail soup from northeast Thailand; tom yum boran noodle soup; massaman rib eye curry; and pumpkin chicken curry. There’s also a separate vegan menu, with entrees, noodles, rice, and curry dishes. Yimchalam is originally from Lopburi, Thailand, where his mother ran her own restaurant and where Yimchalam started out in the restaurant business.
The couple first opened Thaihey Thaifood, their first catering business after selling food at a farmers market for a while, at the White Star Market in Baton Rouge in January 2020. The food hall was from short-lived, closing at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 Shortly after, in May 2020, Greene and Yimchalam opened Thaihey Thaifood on Lee Drive, with the help of a loyal client who was also a commercial real estate agent.
“Fortunately, we had generated some buzz in such a short time in the market,” says Greene. “It really helped us get back on the road quickly. ”
While running Thaihey on Lee Drive, Greene says they met a number of New Orleans restaurant owners who would come for a visit, which he and Yimchalam would then swap – people they have since been able to. to consult. “We’ve been in the business for such a short time, but we’ve built a small network, had conversations about whether we could move here. ”
The couple are renting the space on Decatur Street, which will be called Thaihey Nola, and plan to be there for as long as they can keep it running. “A big part of the appeal was that when we looked around the nearby blocks we realized that what we had was going to bring something very different to the area,” Greene said. “When talking to other store owners, they also said the same thing.”
“We’re a mom and pop store, you know. It’s such a great opportunity for our family to have, ”says Greene. “We can’t wait to get started. ”
Thaihey Nola is scheduled to open from mid-October to the end of October for lunch, happy hour, and dinner.