After a move about five years ago that more than tripled the space she had for her Thipi Thai restaurant at 50 S. La Grange Road, in La Grange, owner Tarnthip Kunupakarn continues a pretty even mix of carryout and eat-in business at 25 Calendar Court, about a 3-minute walk from her original location.
And now, the Indian Head Park resident has opened a second Thipi Thai restaurant in downtown Clarendon Hills, taking over a storefront previously occupied by Scapa Italian Kitchen, 1 S. Walker Ave.
“We drove around years ago to find a spot in La Grange that we liked, and we spent a year driving around and looking into that location in Clarendon Hills,” Kunupakarn said as she prepared to open for lunch in La Grange.
She said the La Grange Thipi Thai has many customers from Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale, Westmont and other towns located closer to Clarendon Hills than to La Grange.
“Some people might think we are competing against ourselves because Clarendon Hills isn’t that far from La Grange, but we have people who live farther west, and Clarendon Hills will be more convenient for them,” Kunupakarn said.
Kunupakarn’s approach to operating her business hasn’t changed at all since first opening in La Grange.
“We always keep everything very clean, and always use very fresh, best quality items,” she said. “We also always cook everything to order for each person. It may sometimes take a little longer, but the food is fresher that way, and we can make everything the way the customer wants it.
“We want to know if there is a problem, so we can fix it. We want people to be happy and tell others about us.”
Kunupakarn said several menu items have been added over the years, mostly by the same motivation.
“I add new things to the menu if we have specials and many customers tell me they like it,” she said, noting that curry and pad Thai are the most popular dishes.
“We probably have someone come in weekly that has never had Thai food before,” Kunupakarn said. “We ask if they like sweet or spicy and try to get an idea of what flavors they like so we can recommend something.”
Shelly Rogers of Countryside said she has been eating at the La Grange location for about 10 years and plans to try a meal at the new Clarendon Hills restaurant.
“I probably eat in or take out food at least once a month,” Rogers said. “They have a lot of really good food, and they do whatever it takes to make their customers happy.”
The menus at both restaurants are the same, but Kunupakarn said she likely will try offering a Sunday brunch and a special evening bar menu in Clarendon Hills.
On the menu
Phone: La Grange, 708-588-1002; Clarendon Hills, 630-590-5025
Restaurant hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday (kitchen closes 15 minutes prior to closing)
Bar hours: until midnight in Clarendon Hills Friday and Saturday; until 10 p.m. in Clarendon Hills Sunday to Thursday; until 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday in La Grange, until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday in La Grange