Nawa – A New Beginning on the Landing
Jan09

Nawa – A New Beginning on the Landing

The new year is always filled with fresh starts. I am not a resolution type person, but what I do love about the start of a new year is how full of promise it seems. January always feels like an optimistic time of year. And what better time of year for Nawa (which means “new beginning” in Thai) to hit downtown Fort Wayne. Nawa is the newest restaurant to grace The Landing, which is one of the prime areas that the Downtown Development Trust in conjunction with the City of Fort Wayne and Greater Fort Wayne have focused on in their efforts to redevelop downtown Fort Wayne in order to make it an even more enjoyable place to live, work, and play. The idea is not just to revitalize the area but to reinvent it, and Nawa is doing just that. The menu is the reinvention of Thai cuisine in an Asian fusion, which highlights not just Thai food but Japanese, Chinese, and Korean flavors as well. Te Boriboonnangkul (AKA Boriboo), one of the operating partners, said that they didn’t want to limit their dishes to just one style. “Our chef makes a green curry pasta. You can take the various techniques from other cultures and combine it to elevate a dish,” she explained. Te and operating partner Prill Trowbridge are from Bangkok, Thailand and managed a Thai restaurant there for a number of years that was a well-known family hang out. They were drawn to each other by their love of food. “We love to eat!” Te laughingly explained. Prill and Te also did some work for a Thai steel company and in the process worked with some Steel Dynamics employees who were originally from Fort Wayne. When those employees moved back to Fort Wayne they missed the IT support that Prill and Te provided and thus began the process to woo them to move here. With Thailand fresh in the throes of the Asian Financial Crisis, it wasn’t too hard of a sell and both Te and Prill came to Fort Wayne 17 years ago and fell in love with the city. The idea was always there for a restaurant, especially in downtown Fort Wayne where there aren’t very many Asian cuisine options. “We wanted an upscale, refined place. Most places only focus on one genre of food. We wanted to do Thai with a modern twist!” Te noted. All the owners are long-time local residents and took great pride in the on-going revitalization of the downtown area. They wanted to be a part of the renaissance of The Landing and what better way to do that...

Read More
Baan Thai Joins North Anthony Corridor
May16

Baan Thai Joins North Anthony Corridor

Recently North Anthony Corridor gained some delicious and exotic cuisine by way of Baan Thai Restaurant. The restaurant has been a foodie favorite in Fort Wayne for 14 years and had previously been at a smaller location in the Jo-Ann Fabric shopping center on Coldwater Road. While Baan Thai is my favorite Thai restaurant, I am certainly not biased…it has won Fort Wayne Newspapers Reader’s Choice for Best Thai in Fort Wayne for the last seven years in a row! Owner Pete Rugsaken has cooking in his DNA. His dad was a chef and his mom was a chef, so of course he attended Ball State University to be a ….engineer. Bet you didn’t see that coming. But while Pete was attending college he worked at restaurants to support himself. For three years upon graduation he worked in engineering and absolutely hated it. His true love was in the restaurant industry and, lucky for us, he chose to move to Fort Wayne to start up the beloved Baan Thai. In a town that has no shortage of restaurant options, the thing that makes Baan Thai stand out is its combination of fresh ingredients, fragrant dishes adorned with carved vegetable art, a flavor profile that dances on your tongue, and the friendliness of the staff. The restaurant is home to 15 employees who are from all parts of the world including Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, and Burma. According to Pete the secret to getting good quality service from your employees is to treat them like family. By caring for them, they in turn care for the restaurant and want to see it succeed. This is showcased in the way they care for their customers. Every time I visit for my dose of garlic tilapia (Thai hot, natch) I am greeted by name with a huge smile..its the little things, but it truly makes you feel like family. Being of Sri Lankan descent, I am always curious to know if ethnic food that is served in Fort Wayne is authentic or if it is Americanized. I asked Pete and he said that similar to most countries Thailand has distinct regions, which prepare food differently. Southern Thailand serves very spicy coconut-based curries, Northeastern Thailand serves spicy yet simple fare, Northern Thailand serves boiled foods with little coconut but lots of herbs, and Central Thailand serves refined dishes often infused with Chinese ingredients and a mixture of sweetness versus only spiciness. The food of Central Thailand is that which is served most predominately in American Thai restaurants and what Baan Thai serves as well. Pete said Baan Thai’s food is authentic, but oftentimes there...

Read More
Koze: Newest Thai in Town
Jan19

Koze: Newest Thai in Town

If there’s something I could tell you that you may not know about me, I would explain my tumultuous relationship with food. Everyday I have a new “favorite thing” which, more often than not, is probably what I’m eating right then. However, among all my confused proclaims of the ‘best thing ever’ one thing has remained consistent, my love for Thai. Naturally I was excited to hear of Fort Wayne’s newest Thai restaurant, Koze Thai Cuisine & Bar. Located in the old O’Charley’s on Lima, just north of Ludwig Rd., the location is not exactly within my normal downtown territory. However that didn’t stop a fellow Thai enthusiast and I from venturing north to try it out. I was familiar with the location, as I’ve eaten at the O’Charley’s that was there before. Koze still maintained much of that chain restaurant feeling. The location was very clean and felt like a more formal dining experience than I’m used to when eating Thai. Their menu was pretty typical of a Thai restaurant, featuring curry, noodles, and stir fry. I quickly located the one thing that I always use to judge Thai restaurants (mostly because it’s my favorite), Spicy Basil.   Each entree came with a light soup of carrots and tofu, flavored with cilantro and green onion. While the soup was not as hot as I would have liked, the flavor was there. It was a good, clean start to the meal. When the entrees arrived we were both surprised at the portions  provided. My spicy basil and peppers stir fry was colorful and the vegetables looked bright and delicious. The dish had good heat, which is a priority for me when eating Thai food. The vegetables were crisp and tasted fresh which always makes everything that much better. The green curry, which I did not eat myself, was stocked with plenty of eggplant, bamboo, peppers, and Thai basil. My friend liked the taste of the dish but would have preferred more curry for the amount of coconut milk in the dish. She also ordered Tom Yum Soup which was a red broth soup with vegetables, mushrooms, cilantro, and chicken. Both of us left with full bellies and that satisfaction that Thai food gives to a person. Next time I go out there I look forward to checking out their cocktail list and some of the other food options including their tapas menu. Koze Thai Cuisine & Bar http://kozethaifw.com/ (260) 755-6802 6709 Lima Road Fort Wayne, IN 46818 Get...

Read More