Beach Business: Thai Fusion’s new ‘seasonal’ plan catches on

By SCOTT D. JOHNSTON

Offering authentic cuisine from half a world away, along with some Asian-American fusion creations, the Thai Fusion restaurant opened with a limited menu on Aug. 8 at 825 Pt. Brown Ave. NW in Ocean Shores.

For owner/chef Thianthong Chanboon, who goes by “TN,” and her husband, George Brown, the experience prompts some familiar feelings. This is the sixth restaurant they have operated, and their second shot in the building they bought 10 years ago. They sold “The Hangout” after a year and it closed a year later.

Along their 20-year journey together, they’ve owned and operated The Green Papaya in Reno, NV, and Thian Thai for 12 years in Bonney Lake, WA, selling the latter in 2016. Both were small, top rated, local favorites.

After retiring “out in the forest,” between Olympia and Shelton, Brown explained that Thian “got bored.” So, they looked at their building near the beach, that most recently housed the La Pausa Greek restaurant, from 2011 to 2014.

“My plan was, this is a good seasonal place and we’ll close and go to Thailand for the winter,” Brown explained. But the restaurant has been booming since day one, and they now intend to stay open throughout the year. They don’t do any advertising, but word of mouth and some mentions on local Facebook pages resulted in this opening day experience, related by Brown: “Right away, the place filled up, and we were slammed all day and the next two days. The first day, we were here until 3 a.m., then back in the morning.” The establishment currently seats 24.

Brown said, “We’ve always been successful.” Retired from Boeing 25 years ago after a career that included managing a tech group, he has “been good with business and investing. And Thian has a knack for cooking.”

He also noted she earned a degree in physics and taught that subject, plus math and science, at a prestigious Bangkok high school for five years before meeting him while visiting her aunt in Seattle. She started cooking commercially during her stay, at the Thai Garden on Broadway, where she “started working in my own recipes,” she recalled. “I like to cook good food – real Thai food – and give it to people who appreciate it,” she said, noting that “not all Thai food is spicy.”

Thai Fusion also offers chicken wings and its own version of fish & chips, with deep-fried tilapia. They plan to more than double their menu in the near future and add beer/wine service. Ultimately, they hope to set up a Pad Thai station run by Chef Thian. And they sell a selection of Thai cooking supplies and other products.

Thian also has done more than 400 one-on-one and group cooking classes. Her Thai cooking videos can be seen on YouTube. Brown said the formula they’ve been successful with for 20 years is simple: “The three ingredients we insist on are quality of food, quality of service, and value. She wants five stars,” and achieved those ratings in Reno and Bonney Lake. Of their new customers, he said, “We love that they’re going out feeling satisfied. They love the food, love the service and love that it’s affordable.” Thian added that, as they have done at all their previous restaurants, they freely offer to replace any food that’s not right.

“So far, we haven’t had to replace anything,” she beamed.

Thai Fusion is open Wednesday through Sunday, and on major holidays, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 825 Pt. Brown Ave. NW. Their phone is 360-940-9010. Email is thiansthaifusion@gmail.com.