(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) Tom Yum District has become the latest addition to the Rosslyn food scene. Following test runs during a soft opening period and a grand opening party last night, the restaurant officially opened its doors to the public today at 1515 Wilson Blvd.
Co-owner Mel Oursinsiri and co-owner/chef Aulie Bunyaratapan have been working on the concept for more than two years. The idea is to offer Thai food in a fast, casual environment instead of at a traditional sit-down restaurant.
The couple like the convenience of Chipotle and the freshness of Subway, so they decided to create a similar restaurant featuring Thai food.
“When I saw Chipotle when they first got here, we right away thought, ‘this is it,'” said Bunyaratapan. “Thai food with this type of concept is very new. People can enjoy fresh, healthy, fast, convenient, very simple food.”
Customers choose from four bases including jasmine rice or pad thai noodles, and from four proteins like chicken, shrimp or tofu. They can then mix and match with the five house-made sauces and 10 toppings.
Bunyaratapan said some people aren’t familiar with Thai food and are afraid to try it, but Tom Yum District lets customers dive in with less of a commitment than traditional restaurants. She said this concept allows people to try a variety of Thai dishes at once because “the price is right.”
In addition to the food, Tom Yum District serves Thai beers and will likely serve wine at some point in the future.
The restaurant will be open for dinner, but the couple said what really drew them to Rosslyn is the “great lunch crowd” and the fact that it’s “a great neighborhood.” They also own Bangkok Joe’s in Georgetown and T.H.A.I in Shirlington