Thai Basil opened its doors in 1995 in a small, 500 square foot location at 101 S. Murphy Avenue in Sunnyvale.
Converting the former business, a hamburger restaurant, to a full-service, authentic, southern-style Thai restaurant was no small feat.
Jua Rattanaphun was a journalist and editor of a Thai newspaper, and he decided to venture into the restaurant business with his wife, Taneerat.
Jua was now ready to add two more titles to his resume, chef and restaurant owner. As Jua learned later on, he would end up wearing multiple hats.
With only 9 tables, he would be the host, server and chef. He earned the nickname "Mr. Five Minutes" as he told everyone waiting for a table it would only take
five minutes to get a seat. Thai Basil would eventually add more seating in the patio area due to demand; Jua and Taneerat's cooking had built up a following,
with a full house every lunch and dinner.
Jua and Taneerat prided themselves on their cuisine. "We may not have had a large menu," began Jua, "but our flavors were the best." "We make our own curry paste,"
added Taneerat. "Lemongrass, garlic, galanga, tumeric, we blended them together to make the curries our customers grew to love. Importing was not an option, as the
flavor was lost when it was time to cook." They continued to stay true to tradition.
In just two years, Thai Basil opened its second location in the Town Country Village. This location was perfect, a large dining area that was able to satisfy the lunch crowd
and maintain its authenticity. The new location garnered the attention of the San Jose Mercury Newspaper, earning the title of the "Best Thai Restaurant in the Silicon Valley."
The award had Jua and Taneerat looking into adding a large banquet room and a catering division. "We got a request from a company with 2000 people and I thought it was a joke,"
laughed Jua. "We met with her and we signed an agreement in principle to cater their next corporate event. We were very fortunate to showcase our cuisine to such a large audience."
Once the Town Country Village closed, Thai Basil expanded its original location to add a full-service bar and additional dining room. The South Murphy location grew from 30 seats to 110.
There is also a new location in Palo Alto, near the future home of FaceBook. Thai Basil is also adding online ordering to help with the take-out and delivery business. "We know the
future is online ordering, and with the technology driven Silicon Valley as our customers, we know it will be another successful venture for Thai Basil," said Jua.