The Real Deal

Three friends bring their Thai food know-how to a new Gonzaga-area restaurant

The sound of trickling water from a fountain and the soft pings of instrumental music set the tone for the tranquil ambiance of the restaurant lined with orchids and other greenery.

It's definitely not the atmosphere this space on North Hamilton Street had when it housed Ionic Burritos, and then for a brief time, Rusty Roof's Burger & Shake Shack.

Now a wooden spirit house greets you at the door, a large painting of the Buddha adorns the back wall and colorful table runners sprinkle the room — all from Thailand, says Juanita Allen, one of three owners of Our Thai House. She and two friends, Phonthip Tungkana and Amphonesy Moungkhoth, had been talking for a few years about opening a restaurant together and finally opened Our Thai House earlier this month.

Tungkana and Moungkhoth, both from Thailand, are no strangers to running restaurants in Spokane. Tungkana opened Phonthip Style Thai on East Francis Avenue after she came to the U.S. six years ago, and also started a restaurant while in Thailand. Moungkhoth started and ran Linnie's Thai Cuisine on West Third for 20 years and Allen has a love for business and traveling throughout Asia.

"Everyone brings a little to the plate," Allen says. "It's the perfect mix of partnerships."

As head chef, Tungkana recommends and cooks up a non-spicy fish dish for me (I'm a weakling when it comes to spice). A mixture of vegetables — baby corn, red and green peppers and onion — along with pineapple and several portions of fish come bathed in sweet and sour sauce, served with a lump of rice and accented with a pink, hand-carved radish flower.

All dishes on the menu can be ordered at your desired spiciness level: mild, medium, hot, very hot or extra hot. Choose from a wide range of items like som tum (papaya salad, $9), cashew chicken ($12), noodle dishes like pad thai ($11) and curries. Wash it down with Thai iced tea or coffee, or an imported Singha beer.

"Everything is made fresh and everything is made exactly how [Tungkana] made it in Thailand," Allen says. ♦

Our Thai House • 1415 N. Hamilton • Open Mon-Sun 11 am-9 pm • 487-4237

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