A Georgetown restaurant that’s drawn raves for its authentic Thai food is for sale and fans are heartbroken over why.
Owner Chaiyuth Satta is selling New Thai Garden so he can have more time to care for his wife, Sudarut, who is battling lung cancer, according to a GoFundMe page set up by Sydney and Kelsey Raulinaitis, sisters who are regulars at the locally-owned restaurant.
Satta was not immediately available for comment but he told Herald-Leader reporting partner WKYT that he’s hoping to spend more time with her and has to sell “to do the best thing for my wife.”
It’s unclear if the restaurant could remain open. Sydney Raulinaitis said that Satta is willing to train a buyer if they want to take over the existing menu.
She also said they wanted to help “really because it’s our family’s favorite restaurant” and they ate there frequently growing up, when there weren’t as many Thai options in Georgetown.
“Now we live in Lexington and drive up there get Thai food because it’s just the best,” she said.
GoFundMe for Kentucky restaurant owner’s family
Raulinaitis said on Thursday morning they raised the amount they are seeking to $1,500 after their original goal of $1,000 in donations had been met.
“Honestly, I don’t think he fully understands how much we’re raising for him. He’s very humble and grateful,” she said.
New Thai Garden at 221 N. Broadway in Georgetown opened in 2008 and remains open on most weekdays for lunch and dinner.
Sutta and his wife found out about her illness in May and a week ago he announced online that the business and building are for sale. Customers immediately expressed sympathy and the GoFundMe page was set up in response, to help offset financial needs for the couple and their three children.
“Not only was this restaurant unique to Georgetown, but so was the familiar and friendly way Chaiyuth treated his customers. Always in the back cooking, but always taking time to poke his head out to say “hi” or ask about family members with a big smile on his face. Always wondering how he kept up with all the sit-down and to-go orders. Always amazed with the consistency of the cuisine,” the organizers of the GoFundMe page wrote. “These are the details that make a small business so special and loved. Details that always make us smile when we think about Thai Garden.”
Customers began leaving big tips, including one for $500 on a $25.41 tab, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Satta is thankful for the community response over the years as well as in his time of need.
“Thank you so much, everybody, for enjoying my food, thank you so much,” he told WKYT.