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Northside 'mom-and-pop' restaurant Jasmine Thai to close in May

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APRIL 21, 2019

Jasmine Thai, a cozy “mom-and-pop” business on Northside known for its affordable and authentic Thai food, is set to close in May for economic reasons after 14 years of business.

The restaurant, which has served the city of Berkeley and the campus community since its opening in 2005, offers a traditional Thai menu. Jasmine Thai’s most popular options include its red rice and beloved lunch special.

The restaurant also offers popular Thai options such as tofu pad thai, panang beef, green and yellow curries and an assortment of Thai teas and coffees. The spot offers both a sit-down experience and a quick to-go option.

Isabella Ko/Staff

Jasmine Thai owner Sorachai Sahabunyakool said many of the business’s regular customers include graduate students and UC Berkeley professors.

“We feel proud to be part of the community around here,” Sahabunyakool said.

He added that the business’s location on Northside is a nice area and has friendly neighbors.

Terrence Regan, who works across the street from Jasmine Thai at Berkeley’s Northside Travel, said the restaurant’s pricing is “very reasonable.” He added that he has always liked the restaurant, endearingly referring to it as a “mom-and-pop” style business.

Regular customer Selim Gunay said he chooses to eat at Jasmine Thai because he frequently works at Brewed Awakening, the café next door. Gunay added that the service is fast and the food quality is good.

“It’s one of the nicest places on Euclid (Avenue),” Gunay said.

The restaurant is set to close the third week of May. Sahabunyakool said that although he still enjoys running the business, it is no longer sustainable. He added that the business is “unbalanced,” and the cost of running the restaurant is high.

Rey Dapula, an employee at neighboring business Seven Palms Food Center, said one of the problems for businesses in the area is that there are now so many food options to choose from. Food delivery services such as Grubhub and Uber Eats are some of the competitors that are changing the way students get their food — Dapula said these methods are often more convenient options.

Isabella Ko/Staff

Sahabunyakool said Jasmine Thai’s owners appreciate their regular customers. He added that some of his favorite memories are the lessons he has learned from customers.

“In general, I would say I’ve learned a lot from the customers in terms of the exchange of ideas,” Sahabunyakool said.

He added that he enjoys learning from the diversity of his customers — during his time working at Jasmine Thai, Sahabunyakool said he has spoken with people from different parts of the world, students and professors of different ages and community members of different age groups.

“(We) will miss the customers most,” Sahabunyakool said. “Thank you to the whole community.”

Contact Sasha Langholz at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @LangholzSasha‏.

APRIL 21, 2019