A Scranton woman whose family owns four Thai restaurants, including eateries in Emmaus and Bethlehem, plans to open a fifth in the plaza this fall.
Matchima Dampo said she hopes to renovate the space, formerly a burrito restaurant at 4791 Tilghman St. (next to ), and name it Thai Avenue. If all goes well, her business will open the end of September or beginning of October.
Dampo, a native of Thailand, said her family came to the states six years ago and opened their first Thai restaurant in Scranton about that time. They now own and operate Thai Thai restaurants in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Bethlehem, as well as
"I think this will be a good location because there are a lot of people with income, offices and a hospital nearby," she said of the Tilghman Street location. "There's lots of traffic. It's a good area."
Her restaurant will be eat-in, BYOB with seating for 49 people, Dampo said. She plans to spend $40,000 on renovations, equipment and furnishings. Some of her featured dishes include peanut chicken and "drunken noodle," with chili, basil, broccoli and tomatoes.
While some people associate Thai food with lots of seasonings, Dampo said, "some is spicy, some not...It's healthy food because it's not too greasy, and we use herbs such as mint and bay leaf that are good for digestion."
South Whitehall Zoning Officer Keith Zehner recently said he had not yet received a proposal for renovating the space. However, because the previous renter was a restaurant as well, Dampo would not need a variance or exception to ordinances to open.
Dampo said she looks forward to working with township employees, whom she said have been very nice, and to bringing her native dishes to all who want to try them. Although she has been a manager at her family's Scranton restaurant, Thai Avenue will be the first one she runs herself.