By Emily Zheng
The Thai Café is set to reopen Sept. 20, two doors down from its original location in the basement of Jordan Hall. The café was scheduled to open by the start of the spring quarter, but was delayed until the beginning of the fall quarter.
“This took longer than I thought and it’s not easy for me since I’ve been out of work for a year now, but I’m looking forward to opening in September,” said Maykhanh Bahlman, owner of the Thai Café. “I miss my customers.”
The construction gave the café a fully upgraded kitchen to meet the current health codes and requirements, and consolidates the kitchen and serving areas. This new setup will allow Bahlman to serve food through a window in the mass courtyard.
“It gets all the serving out of the hallway and into a more accessible area,” said Shannon Silva, facilities planner for the H&S Dean’s Office. “Students and faculty can now order food through the window and take it back to wherever they need to be. It’s much more convenient.”
Though there are certain advantages for the new setup, Bahlman is worried about the effects of some key differences.
“It’s a lot smaller and there isn’t as much space as there used to be,” she said. “It might be a little bit slower, but I am thinking of ways to speed things up so it the wait won’t be too long. It’s very different for us, but we’ll manage.”
The menu and culture of the restaurant will remain unchanged, according to Bahlman.
“There’s no inside seating as usual, but there are about a dozen picnic tables outside just like there used to be,” she said.
The café was asked to relocate and find a new home due to the formation of an academic research project, called the Cognitive Neurobiological Imaging Center.
“We spoke with the owner, had a few meetings and explained the research needs to her,” Silva said. “She was very flexible with us to work for the greater good of the academics. She’s been really great.”
Bahlman has been meeting with contractors and project managers at the Dean’s office every two weeks since last June to follow the process of her café construction. “Everything is going smoothly,” she said. “Everything should be okay and ready by the middle-end of August, and I will have time to prepare for all the students coming back to school for the fall quarter.”
She is still currently negotiating a contract for the café and waiting on the Dean’s office for the specifics of the document.
“I don’t have anything solid right now,” she said. “They’re working on it, and I don’t know any of the details about it yet.”
The original reopening date of the café was scheduled for the start of spring quarter, but was pushed back due to delays in retrieving a building permit from the county.
As of now, construction is on schedule and expected to be completed in the last week of August, Silva said.
“The owner will have time to get her permit, and to get everything up and running just in time for the first day of school,” she said.
All that’s left to do is complete the construction, attain business and health permits from the county health department, and other logistics and planning for the café including inspection by the Santa Clara Health Department, which requires all the foods to be examined before sales.
“We’re very excited that the Thai Café will be reopening, and the owner is excited as well,” Silva said. “We hope it will have a great turnout in its reopening during the first week of school.”