Bangkok House brings Thai taste to campus


Mother Pitchya Bunchatheeravate (left) and her son Pom (right) pose for a photo in front of their restaurant, Bangkok House, on the corner of Rose Street and Avenue of Champions in Lexington, Ky., on Saturday, February 11, 2017. The restaurant, located below Campus Cafe, remains open despite suffering a loss of business from building renovations. Photo by Joshua Qualls | Staff

Morgan Smith

While it may be out of sight, longtime owner of the Bangkok House, Pom Bunchatheeravate, hopes the restaurant is not out of mind for Lexington residents.

For pedestrians navigating campus, the small Thai food restaurant can be easy to miss if you’re not observant enough. The restaurant is nestled in Coliseum Plaza, at the intersection of Rose Street and Euclid Avenue. 

The corner is currently under construction to bring in gourmet burger chain, BurgerFi, to the campus hotspot. BurgerFi will be opening in place of Sweet Mango and Campus Café, which have already vacated the building. 

The BurgerFi construction has been more than inconvenient for the Bangkok House. The stairway that leads to the underground restaurant, typically adorned with a striking green and orange awning and sign, has been downgraded to a bare stairwell that is easily overlooked. 

“Everybody thinks that we’re closed because of the construction and our stairway looking so different,” Bunchatheeravate said. “Since they reconfigured the stairs, the awning has been gone.” 

The Bangkok House garden that is typically present outside the plaza has also taken a backseat to construction. Typically, Bunchatheeravate grows vegetables and spices in a small garden outside the restaurant to be used in the dishes he prepares. 

“We usually have a garden outside, and since the construction began it’s been all covered up,” Bunchatheeravate said. “We used to grow vegetables that we could cook for our customers like basil and tomato. Once they’re done we want to make the outside nice again.” 

Business at the Bangkok House has taken a hit ever since construction began this past summer. Bunchatheeravate has been told the construction will be completed by March 15, 2017, but he is skeptical of the date given the current pace of renovations. 

The restaurant has a lease for three more years at their current location and is currently planning to stay for the duration of the lease. 

The Bangkok House opened in 1993 and Bunchatheeravate, along with his mother Pitchya Bunchatheeravate, took ownership of the restaurant in 1996. They specialize in serving authentic Thai food to the Lexington community, and enjoy bringing diversity to the Lexington dining community. 

“We bring something [to Lexington] that was not there before. People can try Thai now,” Bunchatheeravate said. “The younger undergraduates don’t usually know about us, but we want them to be open and give us a try.”