DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Oho — Suttida Deardurff has spent more than a decade working in restaurant kitchens. Now she has a place to call her own.
Thai Spice, which opened in April at 5153 Bowen Drive in Deerfield Township, is also very much a family affair: Deardurff's mother, stepfather, fiance, brother and sister-in-law are all involved in the operation.
"I love cooking," Deardurff said. "Our family, me and my mom, we've always had a big passion for it. And I've been doing it for as long as I can remember. That passion never changed, and it makes me happy when I see other people loving my food."
Thai Spice, located in a storefront along Mason-Montgomery Road between Fox & Hound and Walmart, is open six days a week for lunch and dinner.
Deardurff was raised in Bangkok. Her sister-in-law, Ratchanee Buengbon, is from eastern Thailand, and her mother lived in the northern part of the country. The food is a fusion of all their styles.
"Every part of Thailand has a special dish and different flavors," Deardurff said. "We all do a different thing; we have a different skill, so we came together."
The extensive menu – there are more than 100 individual items – features six curry dishes, including green curry, mango curry, massaman, panang, red curry and yellow; pad Thai, noodle soups and more. Patrons can choose their own spice level, which ranges from zero to four.
Deardurff's brother is the restaurant's sushi chef. His top sellers include the Bengal Roll, which is made with shrimp tempura, cucumber and avocado and topped with crab stick and special house sauce, masago, scallion and eel sauce; the Dynamic Roll, which consists of smoked salmon, shrimp, cream cheese, avocado and sesame seed inside a large seaweed wrap topped with spicy mayo with eel sauce; and the Spicy California Roll.
Desserts include mango sticky rice, a favorite with customers, Deardurff said. It’s made with fresh, sweet mango, homemade coconut milk ice cream and fried bananas.
Thai tea is also available. Donald Schraer, the manager and Deardurff's stepfather, hopes to eventually serve beer and wine.
"All our food is made fresh to order," Schraer said. "We're incredibly picky. Sometimes people wait a little longer than they'd like to, because everything is fresh. But it tastes better that way."
Deardurff designed the space, which has seating for 48. The vibe is meant to be warm and cozy, she said.
Schraer said Thai Spice serves a niche: good, authentic Thai food close to home. He said the business plan even calls for a second location within five years. But, for now, traffic is brisk, and staff is settling in following a busy debut.
"As soon as people saw our sign go up, they couldn't wait for us to open," Schraer said. "We were slammed the first week. And we've really come a long way since then.
"We've been blessed," he added. "It's very personal. We all want to be supported by the restaurant some day, and if it takes more than one (location), that's what we’ll do. Everybody chips in. We're all partners. We're all vested in this. And we all want it to be successful."
IF YOU GO
Address: 5153 Bowen Drive, Deerfield Township