Once a rare breed, Thai restaurants are now surging on the local dining scene

Back in the 1990s, a Thai restaurant trend that swept the country seemed to somehow skip right over Dayton. For many years, Thai West in Huber Heights was the only Asian restaurant in the region that used the word "Thai" in its name and focused primarily on the cuisine, while a handful of Chinese, Japanese and other Asian restaurants would offer a few Thai-inspired dishes amidst their other specialties.

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What a difference a couple of decades make. Now there are nearly a dozen Thai restaurants either open or on the way in all corners of the Dayton area.

Just last week, the owners of Nida Thai Cuisine in Centerville confirmed they are working to open a second restaurant called Thai Street Noodles on Bigger Road in south Kettering. Thai Street Noodles "will serve varieties of noodles and will also serve popular dishes from Nida Thai," owner Pirom Tintong said. Other new Thai restaurants are in the works in Dayton and Kettering.

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The Miami Valley might have been late to the Thai-food appreciation bandwagon, but we're making up for lost time — and for good reason. At its best, Thai food is robustly spiced, boldly flavored and complex, with ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fiery peppers, coconut milk, fish sauce, cilantro and Thai basil. Yet the best dishes manage to achieve an almost haunting balance among the sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavors and create a whole greater than the sum of its parts, all in a way that can be oddly addictive.

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Here are a few places you can get your fix of Thai food. We know we haven’t listed them all, but it’s a start! If we missed your favorite, send an email to mark.fisher@cmg.com and we’ll add it to this list.

  • House of Thai, 3230 Seajay Drive, Beavercreek, (937) 429-2236.
  • Isaan Baan Thai Noi in the Second Street Market, 600 E. Second St., Dayton (No phone number available).
  • Mae Ploy's Thai Restaurant, 11 S. Broadway St., Lebanon, (513) 409-5600.
  • Nida Thai Cuisine, 853 E Franklin St., Centerville, (937) 221-8600.
  • Penn's Thai Grille, 4459 W. Franklin St., Bellbrook, (937) 310-1049.
  • Siam Express, 6118 Chambersburg Road, Huber Heights, (937) 331-8264.
  • Thai 9, 11 Brown St., Dayton's Oregon District, (937) 222-3227.
  • Thai Kitchen, 8971 Kingsridge Drive behind the Dayton Mall, Miami Twp., (937) 436-5079.
  • Tik's Thai Express, 808 Colonel Glenn Highway, Fairborn, (937) 912-5984.
  • Time 4 Noodle, 4622 Brandt Pike in Dayton near Huber Heights, (937) 259-8731.
  • White Lotus, 327 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton, (937) 222-7030.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Nida Thai Cuisine opens in Centerville (April 2015) 

We should note that in addition to these Thai-focused restaurants, there are several Asian restaurants in the region that offer Thai dishes as part of a Pan-Asian menu, including Sky Asian Cuisine in Kettering, Tokyo Restaurant in Fairborn, Ace Asian Cafe at The Greene in Beavercreek, and China Dynasty in Centerville, to name a few.

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And we are working to find out the current status of two Thai restaurants that are in the works, including Massaman Thai Cuisine on Patterson Road near Shroyer Road in Dayton’s Patterson Park (from the owner of the former Siam Pad Thai in Kettering), and Singha Thai, coming soon to the Town & Country shopping Center in Kettering.

In July, the former owner of Siam Pad Thai said she was moving ahead with her plans to open Massaman Thai Cuisine, although construction had stalled in part because crews were assisting in tornado recovery. And this week, a representative of Town & Country’s owner said work on Singha Thai is “progressing.”

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