New Thai and Laotian spot (from former Thai Pepper family) opens quietly on Jefferson

Chai Thai-Lao, serving the cuisine of Thailand and Laos, held a soft opening New Year’s weekend ahead of an official grand opening later this month.

Owner Kit Keophommavong-Bradford says the Jefferson Highway restaurant’s menu reflects her parents’ native countries. Her mother, Nang Keophommavong, is a former owner of Thai Pepper in Baton Rouge and has helped open restaurants in other markets, she says.

Keophommavong-Bradford says she took on the venture in part to help her mother continue her passion for welcoming the community and feeding people.

“She’s been cooking all her life, and she will not stop,” she says with a laugh. “I don’t think she would ever retire.”

The 30-seat, limited-service restaurant near Jeff’s Food Mart and Patio Lounge in the former Kathy’s Grill location is fully open Monday through Saturday, though the menu is still being finalized. The grand opening is planned for Jan. 16.

Keophommavong-Bradford says the customer feedback, including from Baton Rouge’s Laotian community, has been encouraging.

“It’s becoming something bigger than we thought it would be,” she says. “It’s not fancy dining or anything, but definitely good food.”

This story originally appeared in a Jan. 5 issue of Daily Report. To keep up with Baton Rouge business and politics, subscribe to the free Daily Report e-newsletter here.