Oct. 7, 2015 By Michael Florio
A new Thai restaurant has opened in Jackson Heights.
Sompong Thai, located at 37-09 83rd Street, just off of 37th Ave, opened early last week.
The restaurant has already received praise from residents who have tried it out, according to co-owner and manager John Vasconez.
“A lot of residents are very excited we opened here,” he said. “Many have stopped by and offered well wishes.”
He added that many residents are excited to have a Thai restaurant closer to their homes.
The restaurant’s popular items so far include its Pad Thai, which Vasconez said stands out due to the homemade sauce.
Other popular items include the drunken noodle, which is a sautéed flat rice noodle with fresh mixed vegetables, chilies and a house sauce, as well as Thai-style fried rice, pineapple fried rice, red curry and green curry.
The menu also consists of vegetarian items, duck, soups, salads and desserts.
Vasconez co-owns the restaurant with Sompong Thuthavorn, a native of Bangkok, Thailand, who is also the chef and comes with more than 20 years of experience.
The duo own multiple Thai restaurants in Queens and Manhattan, but Vasconez did not wish to give out the names and take away from the focus on Sompong Thai.
Thuthavorn has served as the chef at their other locations.
The two were drawn to Jackson Heights because of the close-knit family feel that the neighborhood possesses. Vasconez, who now lives in Whitestone, grew up in Sunnyside and Thuthavorn currently lives in Sunnyside, which made them familiar with Jackson Heights.
“There is a tightness to the community that drew us into it,” Vasconez said.
Vasconez said the two were also drawn to the history behind the neighborhood, especially since their restaurant is located in Jackson Heights’ Historic District.
However, the two wanted to be near 37th Ave and 82nd Street, which is known to many as the center of Jackson Heights.
“We are in the heart of Jackson Heights,” Vasconez said.
He did not notice a lack of Thai restaurants in the community, but the duo decided to offer their own twist on Thai. They hope to stand out with their food, service and atmosphere.
Vasconez said they have taken authentic Thai food and modernized it to appeal to those in Jackson Heights.
“In Thailand they are heavy on the spices and use a lot of fish sauce, and people here may not be accustomed to that,” he said. “We tone it down just a little bit.”
He is hopeful that many residents will stop by and see what they have to offer.
“I am sure they will be pleased,” he said.
The restaurant can seat 22 people and will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. Final call for any orders is 10:45 p.m.
The restaurant does not serve alcohol.