Let's call this one "How to Succeed in Business with Really Trying."
Only ten months after opened its first Melrose location on Franklin Street, the restaurant's owners are planning to open a second location in June, this time right in downtown Melrose.
"This is a really good town. I love it. We fell in love with the town," Sarunya Chen, co-owner of Spice Thai, said this week.
So far, it looks like the feeling is mutual. Chen, who owns the business with her husband Jing, says business has been steady, with than the customers at her family's other restaurant, the original Spice Thai Kitchen in Ipswich.
"Here, they eat more spicy. They’re not afraid to ask for spiciness," Chen said, laughing. "Up north, they tend to stick with the milder side."
But despite this adventurous welcome, something has been missing.
"We have a lot of customers who have been saying they wish we had seating," Chen said, looking around the tiny front of the Franklin restaurant, where only two tables fit. "They prefer to sit down, relax, have a drink."
Come this summer, Chen's clientele will be able to do just that. Spice Thai's second location will be at 530 Main St. in Moynihan Plaza, fronting Main Street and tucked across the hall from . Predicted to have around 50 seats and enough room for small parties, the new restaurant will feature décor that is "part modern, part traditional Thai," Chen said.
The differences between the Franklin and Main Street restaurants will be obvious, according to Chen. Spice Thai on Main will be a sit-down restaurant exclusively, while Spice Thai on Franklin will be used for take-out and delivery orders only. Since the new location will have at least 50 seats, the Chens will also now be able to offer a full beer and wine list, which Sarunya Chen promises will include libations imported from Thailand.
"There's not too many Asian restaurants in this town," Chen said. "That's why I want to bring in a dining restaurant."
As far as the is concerned, Spice Thai will be a more than welcome addition to the Melrose Center business community.
"I think it will add yet another star to a Main Street full of star restaurants. All our restaurants offer customers a wonderful variety—from seafood to bistro, Mexican to pizza, and now Thai," Chamber Executive Director Joan Ford Mongeau said. "We are very lucky."
Mongeau's sentiments are echoed by the Chens' new landlords. Laura Moynihan, whose family owns Moynihan Plaza and runs the Melrose institution Breads 'n Bits of Ireland, said that the Moynihans fielded potential lessees for a year and a half before settling on the Chens and Spice Thai as a perfect fit for the empty storefront at 530 Main St.
"We're thrilled," Moynihan said. "They're a very nice family. They're going to be doing a lot of work. I think they're going to be a real asset to the community."
The sign for Spice Thai's newest restaurant will be making its debut on Main Street shortly. Chen hopes it will help stoke a little excitement in the months between now and June.
"I look forward to welcoming all the customers. I hope they go try my dining room, once it's up and running."