Burapa Thai Closes in Clarendon

by ARLnow.com November 21, 2012 at 10:40 am 9,744 69 Comments

The Clarendon location of Burapa Thai restaurant, at 1210 N. Garfield Street, has closed.

The restaurant opened in February 2011 but served its final diners last night. Owner Prat Uthes says Burapa struggled to find a steady customer base in a very competitive area, despite running a number of Groupons and other “daily deals.”

“The reason is tough economy and I can not compete with this location,” she told ARLnow.com. “Too many restaurants in the area and rent is too high.”

Still, Uthes said closing was a tough decision.

“I am so sad to leave this area,” she said. “I love all customers.”

Uthes said the Burapa Thai location in Lansdowne will remain open, and she’s planning to open a new location in Haymarket.

Hat tip to @dcrants

  • Landowne?

    What’s “Landowne”? Maybe LanSdowne?

  • JamesE

    Coming soon, American Generican Bistro Cafe Tap Room

    • WeiQiang

      … Taverne

      • JamesE

        $3 PBR happy hour specials!!!

    • MrMeow

      Really too small for one of our lovely generic Taverns. Perhaps it will be a froyo place? We could always use another one.

      • NIMBY The Chicken

        You’d be surprised. I heard Liberty Tavern is looking at the Marvelous Market space in Ballston.

        • JamesE


        • I heart Arlington

          Please *PLEASE tell me that this is more than a faint rumor that the Liberty Tavern management could be looking at the Marvelous Market space in Ballston. As a Ballston resident, I would LOVE for a true restauranteur like the LibTav group to take over that space – those guys know what they’re doing.

          • NIMBY The Chicken

            Your faithful county board mascot keeps one eye on the streets and there is interest in that space by the ownership of Liberty/Lyon Hall/everything else they own group. Interesting to pursue another project after they bought Alpine a couple years ago and have not touched it.

      • sunflower

        mr meow–aren’t you someone that we used to know?

  • Pad Thai

    Wines by the glass were too expensive for what they were.

    But she’s right about the rents around there.

    • James

      You should see the rents in the apartment building. The new building at the corner of Washing Blvd and 10th is starting 1BR rents at $2K+.

      Just ridiculous considering 9 years ago rents were around 1K.

  • ArLater

    The reason you didnt have a steady customer base was because of the horrible service. Ate there once, looking past the food wait, it took us 30 minutes plus to just get the bill and that was with asking 3 times. Never was planning on returning.

    • ArlRes

      Agreed. Plus the food was not good. Never liked the place.

  • Lee-n-Glebe

    I really liked the food there. They could really get the spice level right – just enough to get you sweating.

  • 350sbc

    Damn it, I liked this place.

  • 350sbc



  • Never heard of the place

    • acetonerec

      neither have I

      • Glebe Roader

        I third it.

        • BlueSkies

          I fourth it, and the name sounds enough like “burp” that I’m not sorry I missed it.

          • NonGleber

            You people are idiots and should really get out more often! The food was fine, happy hours fun and Prat was a class act, love her!….Typical DC’ers….Always complaining about the tiniest things…sigh….

  • Tre

    Pad see ew later

  • MrMeow

    This is why we’ll never get a dive bar that actually has dive prices, because this area is outrageously expensive, and quite honestly has not much to justify it. I can understand why Manhattan is expensive, but Arlington is NOTHING in comparison. nothing. It’s just the snob quotient here which drives up rents and thus prices.

    • John

      Actually it’s the Federal Government and the Federal Contractors that are making this area unaffordable and driving up rents.

      The concierge that use to work in my building there talks to most of the residents and the majority of residents (75%) in the building work for the government or a government contractor. Salaries are pretty high (most over 100K) according to him (he has access to the applications).

      Gotta love people living high off the taxpayer.

      • Novanglus

        Those 100K+ feds would be making at least twice as much at law, lobbying, or consulting firms. The government has to give a 30% market adjustment just to try and come close.

        • Hogwash

          Hogwash !!

        • Greg

          That would be true, except that a majority of government employees are unwilling to work more than 40 hours in a week. Therefore, government or a lower paying job is their best option.

        • Feddy Killowatt

          Bingo. Most feds don’t make 100K. That only happens in the upper reaches of GS-13 and (mostly) at GS-14 and 15. (And SES.) In other words, only after about 15-20 years in government service–if you’re lucky.

          The real driver of high housing costs here is the salaries of the lobbyists.

      • JamesE

        You’re welcome!

  • Erika

    Peter- we will miss your complimentary shots that looked and tasted like antifreeze coolant!! Sad day 🙁

    • Emily


  • South Side Chris

    Worst. Sushi. Ever. Though I did enjoy an after work sake there every now and then, every time I tried the sushi, it was horrid. Crunchy fish, off taste, irregular shape and cut. Yes the price was bargain basement, but I would have been better off with spam and sake instead.

    • Sam

      You went to a Thai restaurant expecting good sushi?

      • South Side Chris

        The best, definitely not, but I do expect it to be considered weapons grade. As a side note, I also don’t go to Burger King expecting either the best burgers or the best royalty. It’s called, Burapa Thai And Sushi Bar. The bar part they had down. No problems there as far as I was concerned. But if you put “Sushi” in the name of your restaurant you ought to make at least grocery store level product. Doesn’t have to be zagat endorsed, just can’t be ghastly bad. But hey, somebody has to finish last in every competition, guess it was Burapa’s time to shine.

        • South Side Chris

          Not weapons grade. I suck at this.

        • Sam

          Gotcha. Didn’t realize they had sushi in their name.

    • Sum Yung Mann

      Take away: Don’t get your sushi at a Thai place.

      • ArlRes

        And don’t put the word “Sushi” in your restaurant name if you can’t deliver the goods.

  • Pedro

    Sad to see this place go. The Lava Catfish was spectacular and the wife was fond of the tempura rolls. The “John Hot” spice level was astonishing, bordering on painful. WHO IS JOHN AND WHY IS HIS FOOD SO SPICY.

    Anyway, this place was good and I’m irritated its closing. Best of luck elsewhere.

  • Chris

    Food here was awful. Could never get the spice level right (don’t know what the other customer above is talking about). I would always order “spicy,” and depending on the night the food would come out completely bland or moderately spicy. Rien is not any better, IMO. We need a proper Thai place in the neighborhood.

    • Zach

      Indeed. I never actually tried this place (intended to soon and would have if I knew it was in danger of closing), but the Thai situation in Arlington is really bad. The Thai restaurants are almost universally bland – too sweet and not spicy.

      • South Side Chris

        Try the Pad Sator at Bangkok 54. Nice and spicery, not sweet andd big on flavor. If you like sour, try the Larb as an apitiser. It’s not spicey, even though it’s flagged as such, but has a delightful sour flavor from a mix of onions, spices and vinegars. A great combonation of dishes.

      • Deadite

        Check out Sawatdee in the Courthouse Plaza. Pretty darn good food at a low price. And of course you can’t go wrong with Bangkok 54.

        Had two awful experiences at Burapa and knew it was only a matter of time until it closed.

    • Thai Food Dude

      1. Thai Curry in Buckingham, across from Glebe Market and next to the florist/Salvadorean place
      2. Bangkok Golden in 7 Corners (behind Home Depot)
      3. Thai Square on Columbia Pike
      4. (MAYBE) Crystal Thai–if it has resurrected itself from a slowdiver into suckery

  • Vinh An Nguyen

    The place was mediocre at best. Not surprised it closed.

  • csjin

    Some good, some bad.. overall it was about the service. Sorry to see them go – was convenient – it’s also off the main street by just enough to have less foot traffic as well.

  • TJFan

    I wanted to like this place…but the service was painfully slow and the food was average (over-priced average at that!) I’ll stick with Thai at Corner (formerly Archa Thai) in Court House when I need a fix. It would be great to see a place like Pete’s Apizza move in – not necessarily pizza, but a place where you can order at the counter and pick your own seat (and where you aren’t dependent on the wait staff!)

  • Polly

    The takeaway from this is jobs moving out to the red counties.

  • FanOfTJFan

    I agree with TJFan. I’ve been there a couple times but it never impressed me enough to make it a regular destination.

  • lolol5543

    How much is rent for a small restaurant like that in Clarendon anyway?

  • karzai

    Very sad to see the place go. We need a good Asian fusion place to replace it, something akin to Raku in DC and Bethesda or Spices in Cleveland Park.

  • karzai

    Not to mention that Restaurant 3 closed (right across from Burapa) and the renovation of it into the new Italian place is going painfully slow. they gutted the place in September/October but very little work is evident in building it out into the new restaurant. Probably won’t open til March…

  • Say It Ain’t So

    What?! NOOOOOOO!!! It wasn’t the very best Thai, but I always found it to be solid and it was part of our family’s regular rotation. The staff were always nice, and exceptionally so to our kids.

    Thank you Prat and co. You’ll be missed. 🙁

  • Carmen

    I was there last night. I had no idea but did ask my friend if we could go somewhere else because I was bored. I did like the food the few times I ate there.

  • DK

    Tried to eat there once, service was so bad, waited 15 minutes for them – no one bothered to try to wait on us or acknowledge our presence. Not surprised at all. Lots of complaints about service on Yelp. Guess it doesn’t matter any more.

  • Mongo


  • Ripped off

    I liked the place, but they tried the old okey doke and charged me $13 for a vodka and soda. When called on it, waiter responded they always give you top shelf if unspecified. What? For a definitionaly flavorless product? I think not.

  • Justin Kase

    Rien Tong across from Clarendon metro on Wilson has much better Thai food than this place did.

  • MissKittenCat

    sadly will probably be a froyo place or boost mobile.

  • Ms. Gourmand

    If high quality food were really a requirement in Clarendon, most of the restaurants would have to close. Just hope the next one serves something other than American food – pizza, burgers, beer, and chicken salad…

  • Bigtoe

    Good riddance!

  • Jacobi

    When this place opened I was determined it would replace my weekly Sala Thai fix which closed some time ago. I only visited twice. When I would call to place an order to go, the phone number didnt go to the restaurant, but to someone who took the orders and passed them onto the local restaurant (I don’t understand it either). When they said they were too busy to help me and to call back, I called the restaurant directly. They were then totally useless and told me to call the other number. When I could finally walk over and pick up my meal, the place wasn’t even busy. They may use high rent as an excuse, but mismanagement and their cavalier attitude is why I never returned.. I’m sure people in Haymarket won’t mind.

  • Jacob

    Perhaps this is a case of you get what you deserve with Management who would yell at a customer across the restaurant not to come back because they didn’t like the tip that they got which reflected the level of service received.

    • NonGleber

      Wow, great imagination….Little too much sauce down the hatch that day??…My guess is that you were likely behaving like 90% of the other Clarendon bar dweebs and Peter had enough and you probably deserved it!


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