By Elena Kadvany
Palo Alto's Aroy Thai Bistro shutters: 'Expansion is not always a good thing'Uploaded: Mar 15, 2019
Tom Vongampai learned the hard way the perils of restaurant expansion.
In 2016, the longtime owner of Palo Alto Thai restaurant Thaiphoon opened another restaurant, Aroy Thai Bistro, just blocks away on University Avenue. He recently decided to close Aroy, citing the difficulty of maintaining quality at multiple restaurants. He and his wife Chutima have run Thai restaurants throughout the South Bay and Midpeninsula for more than 25 years.''
The dining room at Aroy Thai Bistro in downtown Palo Alto. Photo by Veronica Weber.
"I realize that expansion is not always a good thing," Vongampai said in a recent interview. "When you focus on expansion, you tend to lose some of the quality."
Earlier in his career, Vongampai said he had the "fire and energy and ambition" to run multiple restaurants.
"But that was back then. I realize that that's not really the passion. The passion is to have one good location," he said. "Small, local, family run — that’s the way it should be."
A series of dishes served at the now-closed Aroy Thai Bistro. Photo by Veronica Weber.
Vongampai will now focus his energy on the original Thaiphoon, which he opened in 2005 at 543 Emerson St. (A second Thaiphoon in San Jose closed in 2017.)
He sold the Aroy space at 320 University Ave. to Curry Pizza House, a string of family-owned fusion pizza restaurants. There are locations in Milpitas, Fremont, Dublin, San Jose and Cupertino. The Curry Pizza House menu includes pizzas like the "chili paneer" with curry sauce, masala paneer, cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cilantro, and tandoori chicken wings.
Curry Pizza House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.