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Family project brings new Thai restaurant to downtown Tacoma

Thai Pepper True Thai Kitchen will open in downtown Tacoma in June in a three-story building next to Fireman’s Park. It will open in the space formerly home to Orange Door, a Vietnamese restaurant.
Thai Pepper True Thai Kitchen will open in downtown Tacoma in June in a three-story building next to Fireman’s Park. It will open in the space formerly home to Orange Door, a Vietnamese restaurant. skidd@thenewstribune.com

A new Thai restaurant called Thai Pepper True Thai Kitchen is expected to open next month in downtown Tacoma.

The restaurant will be at 701 Pacific Ave., in the space formerly occupied by the Vietnamese restaurant, Orange Door. That restaurant closed in June 2015. It will be in a particularly popular stretch of an entertainment district that’s already home to Matador, Tacoma Cabana, Cafe Vincero, the Forum, Meconi’s and two breweries, Odd Otter and Pacific Brewing.

Thai Pepper’s owner is a familiar face in local Thai restaurant circles. Kane Bunyaketu has owned about 20 Thai restaurants since 1988, including Seattle’s Racha, the popular Queen Anne neighborhood restaurant. He also was the owner of Bellevue’s King and I.

Bunyaketu currently owns Thai Bistro, with locations in Federal Way and Shoreline.

He described the new Tacoma restaurant as a family project involving his wife and in-laws. They’re also bringing along a business partner, Khanjana Kaewprasop, from Thailand who will help design the menu, which will feature Thai favorites as well as a few unusual finds, said Bunyaketu. An early version of a menu listed Thai favorites, with the addition of dishes such as lamb satay and crab curry. Duck plays prominently on the menu with duck noodle soup, duck curry and duck fried rice. Hot pot also was listed.

Expect decor changes when the restaurant opens. The south wall will feature a new bar and high-top banquette seating. The opposite side of the dining room will feature new chairs and tables, with pendant lighting running the length of the dining room.

“We completely changed the kitchen and the dining room. There’s a new floor and new equipment,” he said.

The exact opening date has not been set, but Bunyaketu said he was expecting to be open sometime in June.

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