So long Dixie’s, hello Thai House

22 Apr

Here’s the latest on what was Dixie’s Southern Grub, and as of May 8 will be known as Thai House.

I finally hooked up with Jess Miller to learn more about the decision to sell Dixie’s Southern Grub. She and husband Kyle opened it in early 2006. Four-plus years and two children later — an eternity in restaurant time — they started craving more family time, more normalcy, benefits like regular hours, health insurance, evenings together and not at a restaurant.

Earlier this year, Kyle started commuting to Portland for sales training with Food Services of America. And they went looking for a buyer, which they found in Annie and Lone Keopaseuth. They closed the deal, cleaned things up and handed over the keys to the new owners on Monday April 19.

Kyle hasn’t been assigned a territory yet, so isn’t sure if commuting from Hood River will work, or whether the family may need to move closer to his work.

It’s been a tough transition, Kyle working in Portland five days a week, coming home to the Dixie’s kitchen on weekends. Jess was still putting in 30 to 35 hours a week, plus the work of raising two young children. “It’s just so nice to have Kyle home at night,” Jess said. “I’m not sad about selling the restaurant, but I am sad about not seeing our staff and all our wonderful customers.”

Annie Keopaseuth spoke with me about her plans. She and Lone, a longtime employee at Dakine, married five years ago. She is a native of Laos, which has similar cuisine to Thailand’s — lots of fresh vegetables, rich flavors from such ingredients as coconut milk, chiles, basil, mint and peanuts.

Annie knew how to cook, but she’s been brushing up her restaurant chops — with an uncle, who owns three Thai restaurants in Arkansas, and an aunt in Portland, who cooked in Thai restaurants for 15 years. “All the recipes are from her,” Annie says.

Sons James and Jesse will help run things. Before opening, the Keopaseuths plan to bless the Thai House with a Tuk Bard Party. Monks from their Buddhist temple in Portland will visit and conduct the blessing ceremony.

And on May 8, Thai food joins a dining zone that has been pretty heavily weighted toward Mexican food. Yum.


5 Responses to “So long Dixie’s, hello Thai House”

  1. Cindy Morus April 22, 2010 at 3:02 am #

    Can’t wait!

  2. Audrey Patchett May 13, 2010 at 3:39 am #

    WOW. My take out order was actually just rejected because they had ‘too many take out order already’. It’s 6 PM on a Wednesday, if they can’t handle the capacity they shouldn’t be in business. To make it worse, I had been trying to call for an hour and kept getting a business signal, so I DROVE there to place the order and was turned away. Absolutely horrible service/business. It’s sad too because I was really looking forward to some good Thai food, I won’t be returning.

    • stuwatson May 13, 2010 at 7:24 am #

      Sorry to hear about what I’m sure was frustrating experience. From some personal experience with opening new restaurants, I’d encourage you to go back, after they’ve had some time to work out the kinks. It’s not an easy business to have completely dialed in from the get-go. Give them a month before going back. Everybody deserves a 2nd chance.

  3. jason May 13, 2010 at 9:54 pm #

    I just ate there last night and the food was amazing! It took a couple of hours from sit down until we were finished, but we had a group of 12. Stu’s advice is sound; I usually avoid restaurants until they’ve been open for a month or more. I know the owners of Thai House, and they said they are way busier than they anticipated. And for those who don’t mind the wait, it’s worth it!

  4. Anne Maichel May 16, 2010 at 4:00 am #

    We got there on opening night, knowing that we should probably wait a couple of weeks. Got there at 5:30 p.m. and was lucky enough to get a seat. We were finally served at 7:30…. a whole two hours later. We were forgiving of the slow service and the wait and honestly expected it that way. The staff was apologetic, but we had a great time and enjoyed our food. We knew what we were in for before we got there, so there were no surprises. I would definitely go there again, but this time we plan on waiting a few weeks. Our first experience wasn’t the best, but we won’t hold it against them:-) They’ll get a system going and over time, I’m sure it will all run smoothly!

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