Story and photos by Bill “Hutch” Hutchison
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
The new Junction restaurant/lounge Bang Bar has chosen its opening date: Next Friday (June 10).
We learned that in an interview Saturday with Bang Bar owners Kay Fuengarom and Aom Tiacharoenwat and their chef, who goes by “Chef Jahn.”
First, family ties, in two ways: Kay happens to be cousins with the former TYK owner and adds, “I also have a sister living here in West Seattle.” she commented.
Kay and her family emigrated from Thailand to Seattle in 1993; she has been in the restaurant business since she was fifteen years old. Her family owned one of the first Thai restaurants in Seattle in the Queen Anne area. She was manager at the Northgate location in 1998 and then she and her partner Aom built the Everett location from the ground up in 2007. “That was a lot of work,” she explained. “But the experience has come in handy for our expansion here.”
The new Bang Bar also offers them the opportunity to do something new, to present Thai food in a way that it’s not often seen. We were shown several of their dishes during the conversation. (Above, the Lamb Satay.)
When the menu appeared online, some WSB commenters wondered about the prices. Kay’s response: “We believe our menu is on par with the finest hotels serving Thai food anywhere in the world. We are calling it ‘Modern Thai’ and are trying to raise the bar.”
She adds, “We are sourcing as many organic ingredients as we can and Chef Jahn is creating her own fresh curries and chili pastes.” (Some of the pastes are shown in the photo above.)
“I don’t like opening cans,” declared the chef. “What I’ve created is a combination of my training, my travels, my love of food and my family’s cooking secrets.”
One example given is that Jahn is creating twenty different versions of the rice served with their entrees. “Each flavor of rice is geared to pair with the meat or fish on the plate, making the entrée that much more special.” (Above, the short ribs.)
She and her staff will also present homemade desserts, including fresh ice cream.
Tomorrow night, if you’re in The Junction, you will see activity in Bang Bar, but its public opening won’t be happening yet. The owners will be hosting a private, invitation-only party to try and work out the “kinks” before welcoming their first paying customers.
Then, what’s described as a “soft opening” for the public is slated to begin Friday at 4 pm. For the first week, Bang Bar will only be open for dinner.
Starting June 17, the restaurant will have its “grand opening,” beginning at 11 am, serving lunch and dinner. (Their original plan to also offer brunch is on hold for a while.) They’re planning to be open seven days a week – Sundays-Thursdays, 11 am to 12 am and Fridays-Saturdays, 11 am to 2 am. Happy hours will be from 4 pm-6 pm and 10 pm-close, daily, with both food and drink specials. At this point, they’re not planning any live entertainment offerings.
Food can be ordered “to-go,” but there won’t be any delivery to start with. After the business gets going, Kay and Aom want to start catering special events and will also offer an on-site chef to prepare all the dishes at the event.
SIDE NOTE: Bang Bar is the third of four new businesses opening on the south end of the east side of California between Alaska and Edmunds – shoe store The Sneakery (in the former Liberty Bell Printing space) opened May 8th; West Seattle Smoke Company (in the former laundromat/Liberty Tax space) opened a week and a half ago; and A Terrible Beauty (in the former Table 35/Ama Ama space) is likely to open before month’s end.