SOUTH PORTLAND — A new chef-owned Thai restaurant has opened at 740 Broadway.
Owner-chef Than Pham said Hana Thai’s opening day, on Aug. 21, was a great success. “We did really well, it was a great turnout and introduction to the place,” Pham said.
The 46-seat restaurant employs about 10 people in leased space – previously occupied by Frosty’s Donuts – that also features a drive-through window for pickup of take-out orders.
Pham, of Falmouth, has transitioned into owning and operating his own restaurant after managing his brother’s restaurant, Veranda Thai, in Portland for a decade.
Pham said the timing was right for the change, and he felt ready to venture into owning his own establishment. He said he chose South Portland because, although there are several other Asian restaurants nearby in Mill Creek and on Meeting House Hill, he believes there is enough demand for another Thai restaurant in the city.
The other nearby Asian choices include Teriyaki Exchange on Ocean Street, Asia on Market Street, and Ruby Thailand and Pom’s Thai on Cottage Road.
Pham said the plaza just west of the Casco Bay Bridge is an ideal location for his business because Broadway is busy and there are other businesses there that generate traffic. His larger goal, he said, is to eventually expand the restaurant.
Pham’s family, originally from Vietnam, has lived in the Portland area for more than 20 years. Before working in the service industry, Pham studied and worked in science. He graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a bachelor’s degree, and worked in the biotech industry in Boston for several years before returning to the area to manage his family’s business.
While he wouldn’t rule out eventually returning to science, Pham said his focus now is on the restaurant.
His most popular dish is the traditional Vietnamese soup, pho, which is made from a time-tested family recipe.
Pham said he prepares traditional Thai cuisine inspired by a cooking course he took while visiting Bangkok last year. He said he hopes to return to take more courses, and said he is interested in advice and suggestions from customers on how to improve the cuisine and their dining experience.
“I want people to enjoy the food,” he said.
Than Pham recently opened Hana Thai on Broadway in South Portland after managing Veranda Thai in Portland for a decade.
Hana Thai has opened at 740 Broadway in South Portland.