Chan Srisamer is new to Moab, but not to the art of sushi.
Tucked away in the southeast corner of Eddie McStiff’s Plaza is the newly opened Bangkok House Too, where Srisamer channels 31 years of experience as a sushi chef.
The space, at 59 S. Main St., has been home of the Wake and Bake Café for the past seven years. This winter, the café moved one door over to merge with the Eddie McStiff’s Restaurant, making way for more diversity in the plaza.
Venus Varunun, from Bangkok, Thailand, opened the original Bangkok House at 2728 S. U.S. Highway 191 back in February 2015.
“Lots of people say that it is a too-far location,” Varunun says. “But I like it there. It’s beautiful with the mountains in the background.”
However, when the opportunity presented itself to open a more central sister-restaurant, Varunun jumped at the chance and renovated the space to fit her “sushi bar and Asian bistro.”
“Now we have the best of both worlds,” she smiles.
Srisamer moved to Moab within the year to run the sushi bar for Bangkok House Too. He began learning how to prep sushi when he was 15, and studied under a Japanese Master at Futi – a restaurant that Verunun refers to as the “most famous in Thailand.”
Srisamer’s favorite thing to prepare for customers is the “sushi boat.” The boat-shaped platform is designed to creatively display a diverse array of sushi, sashimi, rolls, salads and garnishes. Srisamer says he gets to be creative, weaving together requests, the freshest ingredients and intuitive inklings.
Varunun says the menu at Bangkok House Too is about 70 percent the same as the original Bangkok House, because it offers a larger selection of sushi specialties. The menus are crafted by Varunun herself, her mother, Pa Sripas – who is the restaurant’s Thai chef – and Srisamer.
“I think it’s a good combination of sushi and Thai. It’s still kind of new to have that in Utah, I think,” Varunun says. “We offer [this variety] in combos.”
Sarah Wojcieszek, co-owner of Tech Zen, says she eats at Bangkok House Too about once a week for this very reason.
“My favorite roll is the sunset roll and I love their Tom Kha soup with chicken,” Wojcieszek says. “My favorite dessert is the Thai doughnuts, which come with a sweet frosting to dip them in! I’ve also fallen in love with the Thai Basil Quesadilla. Venus created it and it is the bomb!”
For Wojcieszek, the new location is the epitome of convenience as her store is the next door over at the plaza.
“But it’s nice to eat at the patio where you are not bombarded with noise and pollution from Main Street,” she says.
Bangkok House Too is in the process of acquiring its liquor license – something that Varunun is looking forward to obtaining by the end of the year.
“Since this is a tourist town, [not having a liquor license] effects us,” Varunun says. “But some people, they tell me, ‘We can survive without,’” she laughs.
Varunun says that operating her own restaurant has been her dream since she was very young. Years after her mother came to the United States as a chef, Varunun followed. The two of them eventually decided to combine their dreams into a reality, and found Moab held potential for good business.
“I have a ‘love/ hate relationship’ with the restaurant business,” she admits. “It’s challenging to be creative all the time, but it’s fun… and I learn a lot about people.”
Varunun says her main job is making sure people are happy. Whether it’s customers or her staff – this task keeps her engaged and busy.
Bangkok House Too is open seven days a week, but opens late on Sundays solely for dinner. The original Bangkok House off Highway 191 is closed on Wednesdays so that the staff team can spend the day at Ken’s Lake, float the river, or just get out—which is something Varunun says this dedicated crew needs.
Restaurant expands on sister business’ menu to include more sushi dishes
“I think it’s a good combination of sushi and Thai. It’s still kind of new to have that in Utah, I think.”
For more information, call 435-355-0168, or go to www.bangkokhousetoo.com.