RIVERVIEW – After closing their Moncton restaurant in 2014, Don Collette and his wife Jumpar (Mary) Tuspong have re-opened Royal Thai at a new location in Riverview.
They started serving their healthy, authentic brand of Thai food again last weekend.
“We had a bigger place back in 2013 and it was a 100-seat restaurant. It was too big too fast,” Collette said.
Even with high overhead costs, the restaurant had started to gain steam. But a three-month municipal construction work on their street hurt the business that was previously located on 15 Morton Avenue. They took a loss and had to close only a year later.
Now located at 121 Pine Glen Road in Riverview, in the same complex as Five Bridges, Collette and Tuspong have regained their financial footing and are back in business.
“[We] recovered and started looking around for a nicer, smaller place, and here we are,” Collette said.
The new restaurant can seat 20 people. It offers much of the same menu items as the old restaurant, including Thai stir fry dishes, noodles, curries, satay and soups. Collette says Tuspong uses organic coconut oil for deep fried items like spring rolls and wonton. She uses olive oil for dishes cooked in a wok, and she doesn’t use any MSG.
Tuspong also offers some sweet delicacies from her home country, including Thai cassava cake with ice cream and sticky rice with Thai custard or mango.
She works with another chef in the kitchen, while Collette’s sister takes care of the cashier and a part-time staff helps serve.
Even with the new location being in Riverview, Collette said most of the clients came from Moncton.
“It’s always a trial and error, you know, with something like this. But we have a good concept and we have clientele before we open the doors, so I’m not worried. I know this time we’re going to succeed,” he said.
Customers are excited that the restaurant has re-opened. One commented about the chicken wings on the menu.
“We are all so happy you are open again!! I miss those wings too!! The very best wings ever,” commented Natalie Guergis on a post on Royal Thai’s Facebook page.
If the restaurant gets “really crazy busy,” Collette said he may expand and add 50 more seats and apply for a liquor license.
Royal Thai is open Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.