ALBANY PARK — The owner of a new Thai restaurant developed a love of food from his mother’s cooking and now wants to share that passion with neighbors in Albany Park.
Tony Sakmunwong opened Chim Thai Cuisine, 3254 W. Montrose Ave., late last month with a menu focused on traditional Thai recipes.
“It’s not fusion. I have real Thai food to try,” Sakmunwong said. “We try to offer home cooking that you may not be able to find elsewhere.”
Sakmunwong drew inspiration from his late mother’s cooking to create dishes like khao krapow gai kai dao – sautéed minced chicken prepared with chilli, garlic and holy basil leaves in a savory, sweet sauce served over rice with a Thai fried egg.
“Anyone who is Thai usually knows how to prepare it at home. It’s simple Thai food. But I don’t always see it on the menu of other Thai restaurants,” Sakmunwong said. “My mom used to cook this for me all the time when I was a kid and that’s why I wanted to put it on the menu.”
Opening a restaurant had been on Sakmunwong’s mind for a long time. He was ready to move forward with his plan before COVID-19 hit Chicago in 2020, putting tremendous pressure on the restaurant and service industry.
The severe disruption to daily life at the start of the pandemic slowed his plans to open as uncertainty around the restaurant industry made him realize now was not the right time to open, he said. -he declares. But he said he realized waiting out the pandemic was also not the right strategy.
“I’ve seen a lot of businesses close, but…I realized that if I didn’t open this now, I might never,” Sakmunwong said. “So I decided to follow my dream and go there this year and see what happens.”
Sakmunwong said Albany Park appealed to him because of the neighborhood’s diversity. He said he liked the idea of adding his Thai restaurant to the variety of restaurants in the area.
“’Chim’ means taste. I want people to come and taste our food, that’s why I chose this name in Thai and I like the neighborhood since I opened. They gave us a lot of support,” he said.
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