Monday, January 7, 2019

Chelsea Thai closes after 5 months on 1st Avenue

[Photo Saturday by Steven]

On Friday night, Chelsea Thai founder-chef Saruj Nimkarn hung the closing sign on his restaurant at 192 First Ave. between 11th Street and 12th Street.

[Photo by Lola Sáenz]

Nimkarn just debuted here in August after 21 years in the Chelsea Market. (A rent increase there forced Nimkarn to look elsewhere.) Unfortunately, he told EVG regular Lola Sáenz that there wasn't enough business in his new space to make the rent.

The food was delicious and reasonably priced. Not entirely sure why the restaurant didn't last. (Lack of a liquor license? Not enough daytime foot traffic? Too many other buzzy new restaurants nearby such as Little Tong Noodle Shop and Tatsu Ramen?)

The address was previously home to the Neptune. The Polish-American diner closed in December 2016 after 15 years in business. According to one source, the rent doubled. After Neptune's departure, the landlord divided up the restaurant into two retail spaces.

Space 194, a hybrid tea-coffee shop-gallery recently opened in the other storefront.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Chelsea Thai coming to former Neptune space on 1st Avenue; Filipino fare for Avenue A

Chelsea Thai debuts on 1st Avenue


Giovanni said...

Perhaps the name Chelsea Thai didn’t help, because when people are walking around the EV looking tor Thai food on theor phone in the East Village, and a place called ChelseaThai might not come up in the search results, and if it does, it looks like it’s in Chelsea and not the East Village.

So we lost a beloved business that had been here for 15 years in exchange for one that was here for only 5 months? How typical. I still miss Neptune DIner, especially when it’s warm out and crave some good Polish food iwith a bottle of Zywiec n their garden.

noble neolani said...

@Giovanni I get your point but "Chelsea" as a name is more generic that than, and was probably not a disadvantage to this place. It most likely was the high rent as it has increally been for small businesses in our neighborhood this past 5-10 years. The EV is now the place where restaurants go to die a quick death.

ed anger said...

He should have done his homework, tons of thai places around the EV already. And keeping the Chelsea Thai name probably didn't help, as pointed out above.

Abfus said...

I was very interested in trying this place, until i noticed a warning on the menu that ALL of the dishes contained shellfish, and so I was out of luck. I know that shrimp paste is a classic ingredient in Thai cooking and that he strives for authenticity, but it might have helped to have a few options that could be prepared without it.

aliasfox said...

Unfortunate. I always looked forward to eating here when it was still in Chelsea Market, so I was thrilled when it came here. It quickly replaced our other go-to Thai place. At least that one's still around.

Best of luck, I hope Chelsea Thai pops up again somewhere nearby.

And those of you saying that there are tons of other Thai places nearby - I'd love to hear which ones are decent. I'm personally not a fan of Thai Terminal or Kati Thai, Ngam is a bit hipster, and Somtum Der, while good, isn't quite the same.

Brian said...

Aliasfox - best Thai is Fish Cheeks, Proong, Thai Village, or if you feel like going one stop on the L train: Sripraphai in Williamsburg.