The King & I Spicy Basil Chicken

The King & I's spicy basil chicken

The Prapaisilp family is expanding its St. Louis culinary empire.

The owners of Global Foods Market, United Provisions, The King & I Restaurant and Oishi Sushi & Steakhouse plan to open a brand-new concept this fall.

Chao Baan, a new Thai restaurant, will be located in a street-level retail space in the new CHROMA development at 4089 Chouteau Ave. in The Grove. Unlike The King & I, a longtime staple on South Grand, the new restaurant will focus specifically on rustic dishes found in the northeastern and southern regions of Thailand.

"My dad is from southern Thailand, closer to Malaysia, and my mom is from the northeast, closer to Laos," Shayn Prapaisilp says. "My idea was to bring those two regional cuisines together under one concept. Most Thai restaurants in St. Louis and even around the country focus on central Thai cuisine, so people are really familiar with curries, pad Thai and all that. But this restaurant is the story of our family."

The name, Chao Baan, roughly translates to "the people," so the restaurant will focus heavily on dishes you might find shared by Thai families – including the Prapaisilps.

"I kind of joke with my parents that this is what we call barbecue food – not in the sense that the food is barbecue, but whenever we get together at my parents’ house to have a family gathering, these are the types of dishes we like to cook and share," Shayn says. "They’re not found a lot on Thai restaurant menus, but it’s really home cooking and stuff that me and my family like to eat."

Chao Baan's menu is still in development, but diners can expect to see dishes like miang kham, which Shayn describes as similar to a lettuce wrap with dried shrimp, fresh shallots and fresh ginger and a tamarind-palm sugar dipping sauce. A traditional southern Thai dish, kaeng som is a spicy, pungent soup with fish and bamboo shoots. Chao Baan will also feature a full bar with wine, beer and cocktails. 

"We want people to think of it as not just another Thai restaurant," Shayn says. "We're really looking forward to introducing St. Louis to different regional dishes of Thailand besides – as delicious as they are – curries and pad Thai and tom yum soup. We're really trying to introduce new flavors to their palates."

The new CHROMA development, set to be completed this September, features 235 units and around 18,000 square feet of first-floor retail space. The $52 million development also features a fitness center, business center, private dog park and community clubhouse.

Chao Baan, 4089 Chouteau Ave., The Grove, St. Louis, Missouri