After four months of serving a few dishes on Saturdays and Sundays at the Dallas Farmers Market, Family Thais Asian Bistro now has its own space in the West End.
"It's a play on words, but it's very genuine, it's very much from the heart," says restaurateur Tony Street, who owns the business with his wife, Jab Srikaij.
The menu is an expansion of the 7-10 items they've been serving during the weekends. The main focus is Thai food, with some additional bistro fare, such as handmade-to-order crepes, shakes, waffles, boba tea and espresso beverages.
"There are three apartment complexes within two blocks of us, three museums within blocks of us.There are so many different target audiences that we have down here," he says. "Which is why I added the bistro part of it, because the people from El Centro (College) or light rail, they might buy boba tea or milkshakes or espresso."
The new space is on somewhat of an edge of the West End, right against the DART line at North Market Street and Pacific Avenue. While the neighborhood has seen its own ups and downs for businesses, Street — who also operates Street's Fine Chicken and Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse — is confident this is the right spot for Family Thais.
"We already are thinking of expanding to other locations once we get this one opened, but I felt it was the perfect starter, a perfect way to get the brand started," Street says, noting the square footage and the "low risk" of the space.
"The perception of the West End is kind of really unfair," he says. "People who live in Dallas don't come here because it’s not trendy. People abandon a neighborhood so quickly."
While he notes that Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville have felt these waves, the West End remains heavily reliant on traffic from conventions occurring downtown. Street's own sales have increased every year in the 24 years he has had Y.O. Steakhouse, he says.
The kitchen of Family Thais will have plenty of family in it. Jab Srikaij, who was the chef at the former Toy's Cafe in Oak Lawn, knows Thai cooking from growing up in Thailand and working in kitchens. Her cousin, who has classical training in Thailand, will also help with the food. Their grandmother had plenty to teach from her own small town in Thailand.
"It will be grandma’s comfort food to food from a classically trained chef," Street says.
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The menu is quite aggressive, with a long list of items, from banh mi to Jab's corn patties, pho and tom yum soup and salads showing both Vietnamese and Thai flavors.
Then there's a long list of just Thai specialties. Various curries, noodle dishes and fried rice are available, as are dishes from the wok, which Jab is a particular master of, according to Street.
Family Thais opens Monday, July 22. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. A few weeks later, Street says, they plan to start the day at 8 a.m.
Family Thais Asian Bistro, 208 N. Market St., Suite 150 (West End)