Revamped Arunee Thai Brings Taste of Manhattan to Queens
JACKSON HEIGHTS — The Phinphattrakun family opened Arunee Thai in a nondescript storefront on 79th Street, off bustling Roosevelt Avenue, in 1995.
Now the owners' future son-in-law is hoping giving the popular restaurant a modern look and Manhattan vibe at its new location up the street.
Arunee closed the doors to its former location and reopened Saturday in a historic building on 37th Avenue that formerly housed Latin restaurant Novo.
The new location features the same staff, the same menu and prices — but the interior has a "rustic, modern look," says Quin "Tony" Chen, 24, who's co-owner and manager of the restaurant.
His goal was to keep what the customers loved — the food — but add some more style to the neighborhood.
"Instead of you going to the city, I bring the city to you," he said.
Chen is engaged to Tharinya Phinphattrakun, 25, whose family has operated the restaurant for nearly two decades.
His agreement with his future family was simple: They take care of the back, the kitchen, and he'll handle the rest.
The new Arunee features a large, exposed brick wall, a sleek table design and a full bar. The music is modern, and Chen says he'd like to host parties and other nightlife events in the restaurant in the future.
"Over there, it was known for the food," he said. "Here, it's the ambience and the food."
Arunee Thai, 78-23 37th Ave, is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.