New restaurant wants Corvallis to experience truly authentic Thai cuisine – Corvallis Gazette-Times

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It was lunchtime at Thai Home Kitchen, Corvallis’ latest restaurant scene addition. From a bar set off to the side of the large dining area, voices of patrons filtered in.

It has been very busy since the restaurant opened on May 2, owner Vichuda Stine said, taking a break from the small stack of papers she was sifting through, making orders on items the restaurant still needs.

The latest episode is here, and this time we put a lot less emphasis on the word “place” and a lot more on “sleep.”

Stine is not new to the restaurant business. As of this year, she owns and runs three restaurants, including Jinda Thai in Albany and Silk Thai Cuisine in Independence.

In the past, she’s owned and sold restaurants in Salem and California.

The space where her new restaurant sits, at the intersection of Northwest Third Street and Jackson Avenue, was formerly occupied by Ciddici’s Pizza.

The property owner, who also owns the building that houses Jinda Thai, mentioned the vacancy to her, suggesting that Corvallis needed an authentic Thai food spot.

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She was a little reluctant to take on running a large restaurant, but agreed to set up a spot after seeing and loving the space.

The spaciousness of the dining area has since become a huge draw. Stine had the walls repainted from the pizzeria’s red to a soft green, selected the square wooden tables with matching black chairs and refitted the lights to something “more classy.”

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Vichuda Stine shows a “before” photo of the space after Ciddici’s vacated, with red walls and older light fixtures.

Jess Hume-Pantuso

Pizza ovens and range hoods had to be switched out for more appropriate cooking equipment. 

Stine came to America in 2001 and lived in California for about six years with her husband, a retired music teacher.

“We had a plan to move to Thailand, but it did not work out with our daughter because she liked America better,” Stine said, laughing. 

They moved back to the U.S. and relocated to Oregon around 2007. She worked at Thai Orchid, a downtown Salem restaurant, for two years before opening her first business in 2010.

Stine has always been interested in the hospitality industry.

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Server Angie Heedrit, left, posed with Thai Home Kitchen owner Vichuda Stine at the newly opened Thai Home Kitchen in Corvallis.

Jess Hume-Pantuso

Back in Thailand, she worked in the hotel industry, and in America, found that restaurants served Americanized versions of Thai food — not the authentic stuff. Her business ventures over the years have put this at the center of their mission, to bring authentic tastes of her homeland to American diners.  

Thai Home Kitchen has a packed menu, and Stine said every ingredient is purchased in Portland from suppliers who directly source from Thailand.

In house, every order is prepped from scratch by four cooks (all from Thailand) and generously spiced with traditional mixes to give it that authentic Thailand taste, like a home-cooked meal. 

The menu is grouped into categories and the Thai street food, ka pao kai dao, has become a crowd favorite, according to Stine. It’s stir-fried minced chicken with chili, basil, garlic and a side of rice topped with a fried egg.

“We sell a lot. Thirty a day,” Stine said.

The Bangkok Street noodles, a rice noodle dish with ground chicken, peanuts, crispy tofu, bean sprouts, broccoli, green onion, cilantro and a sweet black soy sauce, is another crowd favorite, Stine said.

“A lot of people also like to order duck: duck curry and choo chee duck,” Stine said.

Managing three restaurants across three cities in Oregon means Stine is often on the move, spending blocks of time at her different businesses, ensuring they are well staffed, efficiently run and have all the pantry supplies they need.

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Back-of-house crew prepare for the dinner shift, packaging sauces for to-go orders.

Jess Hume-Pantuso

Ernest Almazan, the restaurant’s dishwasher who said he’s learning how to cook, said he’s liked working at Thai Home Kitchen so far. 

“I’ve worked at three jobs here in Corvallis, and I really like this one,” Almazan said. 

Feedback from patrons has been mixed. For online orders, there has been a few not-so-favorable reviews regarding delays, but Stine said that was earlier when she and her staff were still trying to find a rhythm to service. Not to mention that every order is made from scratch, and nothing is bulk-prepared and served when an order is made. 

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A set of Thai Home Kitchen menus on a freshly set table ready to receive guests at 140B NW Third St. in Corvallis.

Jess Hume-Pantuso

Thai Home Kitchen is open every day of the week for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner from 4 to 9 p.m.

Stine said she’s still seeking a bartender for the restaurant’s adjoining bar, Bangkok Bar, a cozy space decorated with picture frames of old drink ads from Thailand.

When it does become operational, she is hoping it will also serve traditional Thailand-style cocktails in addition to other drink offerings.

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Kosisochukwu Ugwuede (she/her) covers the cities of Corvallis, Philomath & Millersburg. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone via 541-812-6091

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