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Chefs Bring Authentic Asian Cuisine to Former Alto’s Restaurant

by on August 06, 2013 12:20 PM

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. The Florida heat was too much for Nikki Tang and Mati Dit-IN, so they brought their unique brand of Asian cuisine to Happy Valley.

Tang and Dit-IN closed their Daytona Beach restaurant to bring authentic Thai and sushi fare to the State College. They're setting up shop in the old Alto's Restaurant on Pike Street Lemont. They've named the place Kamrai Thai and Sushi Restaurant. Tang and Dit-In were drawn to State College by the small-town feel and friendly neighbors.

"We appreciate that a lot. It's really amazing and it really helps us. We feel warm inside, and we wish to stay here forever if we can... It's going to be authentic, very authentic," says Tang, who's the restaurant manager.

Dit-IN is a chef who specializes in Thai food. The sushi dishes will be prepared by sous chef Kris Chainarongsophon, who hails from Hong Kong.

The restaurant owners hope to create some excitement in the community.

"We're not looking to make it less than what we eat and what we serve at home," she says.

Tang and Dit-IN have signed a lease with former Alto's owner Dave Fonash. Even though Asian cuisine is not unusual in our area, Fonash believes the Thai-sushi combination will attract in customers.

"Their ideas seem to be a little bit more unique, and I think they have a lot of experience with running this kind of establishment," he says.

They've already put in new dining furniture, shipped in cooking equipment and are finishing the menu.

"I hope people in this town are going to love my restaurant, love my food," says Chainarongsophon.

The crew has worked all summer to get the restaurant ready to open. Chainarongsophon says he's encouraged by the neighbors who are stopping by saying, "'We'll come. We'll come!'"

"It's exciting were getting a new restaurant, especially the Thai sushi," says Jenny Conway who works nearby.

"It's going to be very tempting to want to run across the street and grab a spring roll."

They'll serve raw and cooked sushi, including tempura lobster, a sushi roll that's breaded and deep-fried with lobster filling.

Tang says they'll be plenty of healthy options on the menu. That includes Satay or meat skewers, Tom Yum or mushroom and meat soup and summer rolls.

Alcoholic beverages won't be on the menu at all but customers are welcome to bring their own.

Tang says, for that reason, they're focusing more on making good sushi and good food. They hope to open by the end of August.

In traditional Thai language Kamrai means "prosperity" and "everything is positive." For the Lemont business district that sounds very promising.

Photo Gallery - Kamarai Thai and Sushi Restaurant



Cynthia Hill is a Penn State student who's working as an intern for StateCollege.com
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