Tempe restaurant’s departure raises questions about small businesses | Arizona News

TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) – After decades of service at the Tempe Plaza, Siamese Cat Thai Restaurant is closing its doors. Together with another tenant on the plaza, the restaurant tells the Arizona family that the plaza will be converted into an apartment complex.

When the restaurant first opened 35 years ago, the adjacent Loop 101 Highway didn’t even exist. But as Tempe continues to grow, restaurants like Siamese Cat have often taken a back seat. The regulars feel sad that they will not have the opportunity to eat at one of their favorite places.

“People are beautiful,” said Peggy Magliocco, a resident of Tempe. “The food is great.”

“It’s the only Thai restaurant we go to here,” added Julie Chapel, resident associate of Tempe.

When owner Kasim Emsuchart came to Arizona from Thailand, his job was to give the people of Tempe a chance to eat the foods he grew up eating.

Siamese cat close

“Bad Tay, Tom Yam,” said Imsuchart. “I know my clients because I feel comfortable.”

“Bad Tay, Tom Yam,” said Imsuchart. “I know my clients because I feel comfortable.”

But about six months ago, Imsuchart and another Plaza tenant were told that Tempe Plaza was converting into new apartments. According to Tempe city records, the plan is still under review for a building permit.

“It somehow happened!” said Imsuchart.

The fact that it wasn’t a huge surprise to Payam Rauf of Arizona Property and Investment Management. “For the two-bedroom apartments, there are not many houses and apartments,” Raouf said. “Only 60 left in Tempe for rent.”

The shortage of rents is a problem across Arizona, Raouf says, but it’s magnified in a city like Tempe that has several colleges nearby in Arizona.

“There are not enough rents, and the students do not know where to go,” Raouf said. “So they need that extra room, and they need to somehow take the pressure off this market with more apartments and more buildings. So that the younger generation can move in.”

Raouf advises restaurants like Siamese Cat to look for property next to other small local businesses. Imsuchart says he is open to any and all potential opportunities.

These major chains have thrived as small retailers have had to close store

Many Americans shop on Little Saturday to support mom-and-pop stores of clothing, toys, furniture, sporting goods, appliances, and electronics.

“I just hope to find a new location soon,” said Imsuchart. “More traffic, so people can see me.”

Wherever this location is, it will have some customers ready to eat.

“Although we ate Thai food last night, we are eating Thai food again tonight,” Chapel said.

“There are some things here that you don’t see on the other menus when we try them,” Magliocco added. “But it was the people who brought us back.”

As for the next step for Imsuchart, he plans to take a little break before looking for the next site. If you have any ideas of a good site for them to look at, please reach out to them directly at imsuchartk@gmail.com.

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