For 34 years, Montrose residents have been able to count on seeing the friendly faces of Supatra Yooto and Kay Soodjai at Khun Kay Thai Cafe. Now, only a few weeks remain to say “Farewell” before the ladies take a long-deserved retirement.
The Thai natives opened their first restaurant, Golden Room, in an old house in 1982. Eventually, the structure started suffering from age. In 2008, it was torn down and the current place, Khun Kay Thai Cafe, was built in its place.
The owners are retiring but the restaurant will go on. It has been sold to a former employee, Tanawat Sumrith, who went into the restaurant business himself. He worked at Khun Kay Thai while working on his master's in business administration at the University of St. Thomas.
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Sumrith, along with partner Anuch Sumrith, went on to start a Thai restaurant in Massachusetts called Dok Bua. Khun Kay Thai’s soon-to-be-former owners and the new ones are both from the same area of Thailand and have known each other for a long time.
The Sumriths will officially take over Khun Kay Thai on January 1, 2016. Soodjai will stay on through the end of January to help with the transition. A press release promises that “fans of Khun Kay will see very little difference in the cafe, as plans are to continue with the same menu and specials that have made Khun Kay unique.”
Soodjai and Yooto have worked seven days a week for years. Once they are done with the rigors of restaurant life, they plan to travel, visit family and catch up on all those things they never had time for before. Overall, it sounds like a happy conclusion to the long, successful careers of two women who helped introduce Thai cuisine to Houston.