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Thai breakfast, Thai favorites on menu at new Stadium Thai in Tacoma

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Amara Shafer has always wondered why Thai restaurants in Tacoma don’t regularly serve Thai breakfast. “In Thailand, we have morning markets. You’ll see that everywhere, people go to the market in the morning. We have dishes that are something like phad Thai. You’ll see porridge, something like congee, and rice soups. People buy their food and supplies and then they buy their morning meals at the market,” explained the North Tacoma resident. 

And now she’s importing a slice of her native Thailand’s morning market culture and bringing it to Tacoma’s Stadium neighborhood. She and husband Jim Shafer plan to open their Thai restaurant, Stadium Thai Kitchen Restaurant, this month – if all goes as planned. They’re in the final stretch of permit approvals and have a few more hurdles to jump before they’re fully open. 

They’re opening in the former Burger Bar restaurant space. 

They’ve been working on that project for more than two years. This is a career change for Amara Shafer, who spent 30 years as a registered nurse in Thailand. This is a first restaurant for the Shafers, who live in North Tacoma.

When they open, their plan is to serve breakfast Mondays through Saturdays and flipping to a lunch menu at 11 a.m. daily. “I just imitated some of the menus from the Thailand morning markets,” explained Shafer. 

While I’ve seen Thai restaurants, such as Loak Toung in Tacoma’s Oakland-Madrona neighborhood, offer the occasional special event brunch, I don’t think Thai breakfast is served regularly anywhere else at Tacoma Thai restaurants. (If you know of one in Pierce County, message me. Immediately).

Her debut Thai breakfast menu lists breakfast sandwiches with fried eggs and multiple flavor options, such as one made with chicken curry and another with marinated grilled pork and chili paste. She’ll serve a dish that is like scrambled eggs with phad Thai, plus two rice soups. One of those is congee style with a poached egg. And then there’s this: a Thai omelet called a khao khai jaew, an omelet served over rice and seasoned with soy and cilantro. The breakfast menu is priced and built for grab-and-go customers. All breakfast items are listed as under $8. 

The lunch and dinner menus list popular Thai offerings local diners will find familiar – with salads such as larb and soups that include tom kha and tom yum. The entree menu includes the greatest hits of Thai offerings: the gamut of Thai curries, phad Thai, kee mao, rama dishes, a trio of fried rices, typical Thai stir fries and Thai sweet-and-sour. There are also specialty dishes such as khao man kai, which is Hainanese chicken served over rice. She’ll also offer family combo meals, which will suit what she expects will be a large contingent of take-out diners. 

Dishes are spiced on a scale of 1-5. 

The restaurant will be tiny, as it was when the space held Burger Bar. Shafer expects to seat 12 to start, but she can have up to 22 diners in the space. She said her restaurant will offer fast-casual service with diners ordering at the counter. She expects a majority of her business will be take-out, people looking to grab a quick and healthy meal and delivery through third-party apps. She’ll open with Door Dash service and plans to expand to Uber Eats, Grub Hub and other delivery apps later. Stadium Thai will operate from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.

I’ll have more details soon. Keep checking back for opening details. 

STADIUM THAI KITCHEN RESTAURANT 

Where: 813 Division Ave., Tacoma; 253-503-1106

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/stadiumthai

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stadium-THAI-Kitchen-110613697386152

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