TNT Diner

Thai Pepper opens in downtown Tacoma

The corner of Seventh Street and Pacific Avenue is now home to Thai Pepper.
The corner of Seventh Street and Pacific Avenue is now home to Thai Pepper.

Tacoma’s newest Thai restaurant opened Monday at 701 Pacific Ave.

Thai Pepper opened in the space formerly occupied by the Vietnamese restaurant Orange Door. It’s at the end of a stretch filled with restaurants and bars, including Tacoma Cabana, Matador, Meconi’s, Odd Otter Brewing, The Forum and Cafe Vincero.

Thai Pepper’s owner is associated with popular Thai restaurants across the region. Kane Bunyaketu has operated about 20 Thai restaurants since 1988, including Seattle’s Racha in Queen Anne and the former King and I in Bellevue. Bunyaketu currently owns Thai Bistro in Federal Way and Shoreline.

Bunyaketu has opened the restaurant with his wife and in-laws, as well as a new business partner from Thailand, Khanjana Kaewprasop. One of the delays in opening — the restaurant was set to open in the summer — was due to Kaewprasop’s delay in getting an investment visa, which was ultimately approved in October.

The footprint and decor of the restaurant have changed, said Bunyaketu. A row of booths has replaced a few tables and the dining room has a more saturated color palette than Orange Door’s.

A sample menu provided before the opening listed the usual Thai curries, noodle dishes, stir-fried dishes, salads and appetizers. Several items with duck stood out, including a house-made duck soup with egg noodles, duck curry and duck fried rice.

Thai Pepper True Thai Kitchen

Where: 701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-503-3179.