Bangkok Grill

The Covington News - - Local News - By Sabas­tian Wee swee@cov­news.com

With Bangkok Grill on U.S. High­way 278, Sam and Jee Poon­poolpoke have found a sec­ond chance to bounce back af­ter be­ing a dealt a blow from the coun­try’s strug­gling econ­omy. Over a year later, the res­tau­rant is run­ning strong and the fam­ily has com­fort­ably set­tled into its new home in Cov­ing­ton.

The Poon­poolpokes opened Bangkok Grill in March 2009, but not long be­fore that they had noth­ing. They pre­vi­ously owned the Red Tomato in Cony­ers, but they lost the busi­ness to the eco­nomic melt­down.

“I lost ev­ery­thing, my house, my car. I lost $1 mil­lion in to­tal,” Jee Poon­polpoke said.

Af­ter de­cid­ing on Cov­ing­ton, the Poon­poolpokes be­gan re­build­ing their fu­ture. With the size of the cur­rent res­tau­rant, Jee found the smaller fa­cil­ity is more man­age­able when con­trol­ling bud­get and ex- penses. She also has grown to love the city.

“I’m close to ev­ery­thing — the city, doc­tors, lawyers, hos­pi­tal and schools,” said Jee. “I don’t ever want to leave here. Even with shop­ping, I try to stay in the area. If you look hard enough, you will see that ev­ery­thing you need is in Cov­ing­ton.”

Jee is the host­ess, her hus­band Sam, and son Jack are the cooks; her other son Jim, and Jack’s wife, Caro­line, are the servers, and Jim’s 6-year-old son, Evan, oc­ca­sion­ally seats and some­times even sits with the cus­tomers.

The fam­ily is con­tin­u­ing their ef­forts to make Thai cui­sine and Thai fu­sion a main­stay in Cov­ing­ton. Jee and Sam have been in the food busi­ness for more than 20 years, and over that time Sam has learned to cook many dif­fer­ent styles of food. He likes to cook tra­di­tional Thai and Amer­i­can dishes, as well as mix and match cul­tures to cre­ate his own fu­sion dishes, Jee said.

Some of Sam’s spe­cial- ties in­clude crab cakes, grouper with basil (the main at­trac­tion), spicy shell­fish, Panang curried duck, honey soy glazed salmon, chicken cashew, Pad Khing, she-crab soup, tom yum shrimp soup, Pad Thai and Pad Kee-Mao. The Bangkok Grill also sells beer and wine, in­clud­ing Thai beers.

The menu also of­fers tra­di­tional Amer­i­can fare, in­clud­ing chicken Cae­sar sal­ads, chicken fin­gers and black­ened salmon and grouper. Poon­poolpoke hopes this will slowly coax eaters into try­ing the res­tau­rant’s au­then­tic Thai dishes.

“If some­one has never tried Thai be­fore, come and try it out,” Jee said. “If you find that you can’t han­dle it, there are al­ways other op­tions on the menu.”

The res­tau­rant is open daily ex­cept Mon­days.

“Sun­day is fam­ily day for many peo­ple,” Jee said. “They spend time to­gether and many of them have church, so we stay open all day for them.”

Sabas­tian Wee/The Cov­ing­ton News

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