Twenty years after they first brought Thai cuisine to Sunnyside, Uvadee and Jerry Harden have returned to the hospitality business with a Pasco location.
The West Richland couple purchased the former Baan Khun Ya Thai restaurant, 5109 N. Road 68, two months ago and renamed it. It’s now Swadee Thai, meaning “Hello.”
Jerry serves as host for the 74-seat restaurant, and his wife, a Thai native, is in charge of the kitchen.
Jerry Harden said the business has struggled to get the word out that it’s under new ownership. Some regulars of the former restaurant thought it closed rather than changed hands.
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Uvadee Harden grew up in Bangkok cooking traditional dishes for her family. She moved to the U.S. to marry. She remarried Jerry after her first husband passed away.
The couple briefly operated a Thai restaurant in Sunnyside in the mid-1990s.
Jerry Harden said his wife relies on her network of Thai friends and cultural organizations to source ingredients for her dishes.
A Friday buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is a great opportunity to sample various menu items.
“People that have never tried it need to come. I guarantee they will like it,” he said.
Swadee Thai (though their temporary sign says Sawadee Thai) is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
They have applied for a liquor license and expect to add alcohol in the near future.
Fresh Out of the Box, the popular Pasco food truck that draws crowds for its Asian fusion street food, plans to open a brick-and-mortar location at Kennewick’s Marineland, at the corner of Clearwater Avenue and Edison Street.
Fresh Out of the Box announced plans to open the new storefront location on its Facebook page. It expects to open this summer.
The food truck operates on North Fourth Avenue in Pasco.
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