Tom Yum soup with prawns is a popular menu item.
Tom Yum soup with prawns is a popular menu item.

Duanchai Stantus — Mind to her friends and customers — is mixing her love of food and hospitality experience into her recipe for Bamboo Thai in Madison Park.

Stantus took over the business more than two months ago. She knew the owners of Thai Ginger, who had operated a restaurant there for 20 years. They’d tapped Wirinya Kanasukrotchananan to take over the space, which became Bamboo Thai Cuisine. When Kanasukrotchananan had to return to Thailand, Stantus took over the space, closing briefly to make renovations at 1841 42nd Ave. E.

“Food is my passion,” Stantus said. “I love cooking. I love to meet people. I love to feed people.”

Bamboo Thai by Mind has kept a lot of popular menu items from before, adding some popular dishes like halibut cheeks, tom yum and crab fried rice.

“I want to promote Thai food, Thai culture, and make real Thai for Americans to eat,” Stantus said. “My partner and I, we have a passion for food together.”

Her parents ran a restaurant on a United States Air Force base in Thailand during the Vietnam War, which they moved when it was turned into an international airport.

“I grew up with a restaurant business,” Stantus said.

She owns four spas in Thailand, and was previously a real estate broker in Bangkok.

Stantus moved to the area two years ago, so her son could attend school here. He goes to Nathan Hale High School.

Stantus met her business partner Sam Alameddine while working at Lexus of Bellevue. Alameddine’s parents operate a hotel in Morocco.

“We just knew that the area had a lot to offer,” Alameddine said, “and we went into it because we realized that the community here was being underserved in a sense.”

Stantus said she went to work at Bamboo Thai before taking it over, assessing the operation and taking note of what needed improving. She also checked Google and Yelp reviews to find weak points, she said. She’s happy to see the reviews have since improved. The number of people dining at the restaurant has increased 65 percent, she said.

“I want to keep that steady and serve the people well,” Stantus said.

Alameddine said it was important to retain staff, such as Bang-Orn, who has cooked in that spot for 20 years, so they maintained the payroll during renovations. More upgrades are planned in the future, he said.

Stantus said she has no plans to open another restaurant in the future, and wants to focus on continually improving Bamboo Thai by Mind. Alameddine, who has a background in sales, marketing and construction management, said he’d long wanted to open a restaurant.

“I never thought it would be a Thai cuisine restaurant,” he said, “but once I met Mind I really appreciated her passion for the art of cuisine and passion for the customer experience.”

The ingredients are locally sourced, and everything is made from scratch, including the peanut sauce and chili paste. All dishes can be made vegetarian, Alameddine said, and they made sure to offer gluten-free menu items.

Alameddine said Bamboo Thai by Mind looks forward to serving the Madison Park neighborhood, and wants to be available to support community events and causes. The restaurant’s next big move will be offering catering.

The new Bamboo Thai owners are planning a grand-opening celebration sometime next month, and will be offering a 10-percent discount through the end of September.