Mae Khong Thai Tapas & Bar has set up shop at 1649 S. Stapley Drive in Mesa, according to a recent liquor license application found in state public records. The family-owned restaurant is taking over the former Thai Time Kitchen next to AMC at the Mesa Grand Shopping Center.
Co-Owner Thomas Samuels is a restaurant industry veteran with more than a decade of experience working in kitchens and bartending in New York and Florida. Having relocated to Arizona, Samuels is now opening his first restaurant and is excited to serve the Mesa area.
Samuels tells What Now San Francisco that he expects to have an official grand opening around February 2022 but in the meantime, they’ve initiated a soft launch on December 16th. They’ve opened the restaurant “as is” to passing foot traffic, testing out recipes that are being developed and made with the help of Samuels’s parents.
The testing menu is inspired by the regional cuisines of central Bangkok, from which you get more traditional Thai recipes, and the Isan region, which uses a lot more spices and herbs. The tapas menu has a variety of dishes from Goong Donuts, a fried shrimp cake marinated in garlic, cilantro, and black pepper, to Gai Todd, battered fried chicken thighs marinated in curry paste.
Samuels adds that all sauces and marinades are made in-house, using classic Thai recipes for the best flavor. They also have a few main dishes such as Pad Thai and Pad Se Eiw. Mae Khong will also begin developing a cocktail menu that pairs well with all of their delicious food.
The drinks are to come presumably at a later date, since the license is still pending and Samuels says that their bar will be built in January. By then, they hope to really have the wheels turning on their operations, after giving the space a major facelift, finalizing the menu items, and even having a website and social media ready to go.
Luckily with their current soft opening, you don’t even have to wait to get a taste of what’s in store for Mae Khong, but we’re really looking forward to seeing it all come together in the coming months.