Five long-time friends and restaurateurs from across the world are teaming up for a local venture in Beaufort.
Amata Thai Fusion at 2127 Boundary St. celebrated a soft opening last week, and the friends running it are testing recipes and the business plan in preparation for a grand opening in November, co-owner Sajeepham "Sara" Surapaitoolkorn said.
One, Dechpong "Rak" Tocharoen, is from Beaufort and owns Yes, Thai Indeed at 911 Boundary St. Seeing a market for Thai and other traditionally-inspired Asian food, he talked his friends into the new venture.
One of them operates five Thai restaurants in Toronto, and another has five in Bangkok. A third grew up working in his family's Thai restaurants in Seattle. Surapaitoolkorn, originally form Bangkok, received a degree in restaurant administration from Washington State University. The chef just last worked at Nan Fine Dining in Atlanta.
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"Because we have so many people who came from so many countries and backgrounds, we plan to do a fusion," said Surapaitoolkorn.
The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 to 10 p.m. on Friday; and from 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday.
McDonald's project on hold
City of Beaufort officials are working with representatives of the McDonald's restaurant on the corner of Boundary Street and Robert Smalls Parkway so construction can resume.
Remodeling at the 2424 Boundary St. building began in August but recently was halted. Beaufort planning director Libby Anderson construction got ahead of city-required inspections.
Her office is trying to get construction and inspections back on track. She anticipates work will begin shortly but would not provide an exact date for its resumption.