The husband-and-wife team of Brian Oliver and Pacharee Tunkanitlert have reopened the former Thai Spice restaurant as Chang Kao Thai Cuisine at 6233 14th St. W.
In addition to a new name and new owners, Chang Kao opened May 3 with a new menu.
Chang Kao, meaning white elephant in Thai, is important in Thai culture for its royal symbolism as a national icon in war and peace, Oliver said.
“Guests at Chang Kao can expect royal treatment and the freshest ingredients cooked to order, every time,” seems to be the motto at the restaurant.
“My wife had known the previous owner and we started talking to him about buying the restaurant last year,” Oliver said. “We have been very pleased with the response from guests so far.”
Tunkanitlert, who has been cooking for about 30 years, including 20 in the United States, is assisted in the kitchen by her brother, Andy Somboon.
Some of the most popular offerings on the all-Thai menu are Pad Thai (thin rice noodles sauteed with egg, bean sprouts, scallion and crushed peanuts, and your choice of meat), and Drunken Noodles (pan-fried flat noodles, egg, broccoli, onion, bell pepper, green beans, bamboo shoots, carrots and basil prepared with a mixture of fresh chili, garlic and your choice of meat). Both start at $11.95.
Other popular items include the Goong Sapparot appetizer (grilled shrimp and pineapple served on skewers with peanut sauce and cucumber dip) for $9.95; Yum Nua (a grilled sliced beef salad with red onion, tomato, cucumber, red bell pepper, scallion, cilantro, mint, chili and sour lime juice) for $9.95; and Tod Mun (a fried appetizer cake made of ground chicken and shrimp and served with cucumber sauce topped with crushed peanuts) for $7.95.
The menu is extensive, essentially divided into noodle and fried rice dishes, wok stir dishes, curry, soup, salad and appetizers. House specialties range from stir fried mixed seafood to spicy squid, crispy roasted duck and crispy fish fillet, starting at $13.95.
Lunch specials start at $8.95 and are served with soup of the day and crispy spring roll. Lunch specials are available until 3 p.m.
The desert menu includes traditional Thai sweetness such as Thai donut, mango sticky rice, rambutan fruit and green tea ice cream.
Fans of bubble tea are in luck with selections such as coconut, honey dew, mango, mocha, red bean, coffee and more on the menu at $4.95.
Chang Kao is open Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday. Hours Monday through Thursday are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday hours are the same, except for a closing 30 minutes later at 10 p.m. On Saturday, Chang Kao is open from noon-3 p.m. and 4:30-10 p.m.
The owners of Chang Kao are planning to add beer and liquor sales and are setting up delivery service with DoorDash, Uber Eats and Bite Squad.
The restaurant faces the shopping center parking lot, rather than 14th Street West, and is located next to Bayshore Pharmacy.
For more information about Chang Kao, visit changkaothai.com or call 941-739-2217.