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New Thai Restaurant Opens In Ross

The Red Orchid Restaurant is family-owned and family-run.

Lovers of Thai cuisine in  and have a new, local restaurant to indulge their desire for those traditional, spicy dishes.

The Red Orchid restaurant at 5439 Babcock Blvd. has been open for several weekends and is hosting its grand opening today.

Sisters Panchiwan Tangkea and Keson Kaplanek are the owners, but it is truly a family-run business, with nieces, nephews, and even Panichwan and Keson's mother lending a hand.

Panichiwan came to the United States about 10 years ago after she married an American. Keson and the rest of her family stayed behind in Thailand until the tsunami of 2004 wiped out Keson's restaurant business.

It took a while, but Panichiwan finally convinced Keson to come to America. 

"I said, 'Why don't you come here, I don't have any family here, this would be nice for me, and then you can start working at Thai restaurants here,' and she said, okay," she said.

But the transition took time for Keson, who worked at Bangkok Balcony in Squirrel Hill and Nicky's Thai Kitchen on the North Side before opening up her own restaurant. 

"The restaurant business is totally different here—all of the rules, all of the regulations," said Panichiwan.  "In Thailand, if you are ready and your restaurant is decorated, you simply open the doors."

Both sisters quickly recognized the lack of authentic Thai cuisine in the North Hills.

"North Hills is a growing area (with) a lot of middle and upper-middle class families and young professionals, and because Cranberry is so nearby, the whole area is growing," Panichwan said.

"We have all old family recipes, and a lot of the ingredients we make here. I live in Butler, and I buy a lot of our produce at farm markets there."  

Red Orchid offers take-out, delivery within three miles and dine-in service in a modest-sized dining room.

"We didn't want too a big a space. We wanted it to feel very comfy, where we can provide lots of personal service," Panichiwan said.

And it appears to be working.

"We've been open for two weekends and already are getting repeat customers," she said. 

For more information about the Red Orchid, call 412-837-2527 or check out their website at ThaiRedOrchid.com.  

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woody September 13, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Thank you, Richard; that's very kind of you! I'll give it a try from time to time and will come back with some more. I'd also like to compliment you for not only the quality of your articles, but also your selection of subject matter on Patch... stuff that's interesting, timely, and relevant. Although I also am intrigued with the non-timely (i.e., historical) stuff about our area, too.
Richard Cook September 13, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Thanks for your kind words about the site. I've reached out to the historical society about doing some blogging, also.. hopefully they will consider it.
Mara Addison September 13, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Could someone please give me a landmark that the restaurant is near? What part of Babcock? Thanks!
Richard Cook September 13, 2012 at 02:17 PM
It's very near the intersection of Babcock at 3 degree Road. It's in the same strip mall as Pizza Labella. Here's a link to a google map of the location. http://goo.gl/maps/UBF2F
woody September 13, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Please keep us on Patch posted if you do blog on about local history or pre-history/archaeology, Richard. Or, alternatively, just post it here on Patch!

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