This article appears in the December issue of 400 Life.
Freshness, spice and family, these are the three ingredients that make Thai Basil Kitchen a Forsyth County favorite, year after year.
Walk into the restaurant on Peachtree Parkway in south Forsyth and it’s easy to see, smell and taste these three ingredients at work. From the packed tables of friends and neighbors sharing a meal, to the dishes of curry and noodles bursting with flavors, the passion for good food is palpable.
And according to Thai Basil Kitchen co-owner Nicha Pramrutairat, all of it started as a dream of continuing a family legacy for cooking authentic Thai food.
“It was a no-brainer,” Pramrutairat said with a laugh, as she explained how both she and her husband had worked in Thai restaurants for years, when her father retired from owning businesses in Thailand and suggested that they should open an authentic Thai restaurant together.
“My husband worked at restaurants, like Thai restaurants, all of his life, almost 20 years and I was in the food service industry, working in the front of the house,” she said. “My dad saw how we were both in the restaurant business and he was like, ‘why are we not opening our own restaurant?’”
Initially, the family thought that they would open the restaurant in Alpharetta, where they were located.
But they realized that the closer you get to Atlanta the market for Thai cooking is more and more saturated with restaurants, so they decided to pick an area like Forsyth County to open up shop, where there was a real need for authentic Thai food — a need they were more than willing to fill.
“We came up here and said, ‘Oh, we don’t really see any Thai places, so let’s go try to do our restaurant there,’” said Pramrutairat’s husband, Juan Carlos Flores Diaz, who also serves as the business’s chef and co-owner.
“There are a lot of Thai restaurants in Alpharetta; you can find it anywhere,” Pramrutairat said. “It was fun to bring authentic Thai food to Forsyth County,” Flores Diaz said.
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Both Pramrutairat and Flores Diaz said that as soon the restaurant began preparing to open, they immediately began to see that their instincts were right, and people desperately wanted a Thai food option.
Flores Diaz said that when they put up a sign letting the community know a Thai restaurant was coming to the area, they immediately started getting queries from people wanting to know when they were going to open.
“That was a good signal,” he said with a small grin.
“From day one, we’ve been lucky that it’s been constantly busy all the time,” Pramrutairat said. “People can taste the freshness and how passionate my husband is about that he makes.”
Today, Thai Basil Kitchen is much as it was when it started four years ago. Soothing music plays in the background as diners eat surrounded by Thai art, greenery and a large landscape painting.
And after four years, Pramrutairat says that customers can expect the same authentic Thai foods, served in a family-friendly environment.
“We try to stick to the traditional recipes as much as we can, because we feel like people don’t have to travel to Thailand to get good Thai food,” she said. “They just have to be here in their back yard.”