TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — This weekend, a fixture of Tuscaloosa’s dining scene will be closing its doors for the last time.
Ruan Thai, a restaurant located toward the end of the city’s stories Strip area, will close Saturday after being open in one form or another for nearly 30 years.
“With great sadness, we announce that we are closing the restaurant. February 20th, 2021 will be Ruan Thai’s last day serving guests in Tuscaloosa,” management wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page Tuesday. “We would like to thank every single one of our customers who have supported us: those who were there from the very beginning, those who decided to ‘venture out’ and try something new, those who had faith in us, those who kept coming back, and everyone else in between.”
The restaurant, located across the street from Surin of Thailand, first opened in 1991 as the Siam House under owner “Alp” Yeager and was reportedly the first Thai restaurant in the city, according to management. In 2002, the restaurant closed, but opened again in 2006 as Ruan Thai.
“With food of the utmost quality and most delicious taste, as well as with all of the people who have contributed to the warmth and hospitality of our restaurant, Ruan Thai has earned its own sense of local fame over the years and stays in the hearts of many even after they leave our restaurant’s doors,” the statement read. “Many of our customers have gone to Thailand and come back to tell us that our food is even better than the food they had in Thailand. With compliments such as these, as well as the sheer joy of being able to share our food with everyone, we maintain a sense of pride and happiness that couldn’t happen without our customers’ support.”
No reason was given for the closure, but like many restaurants and businesses across the country, Ruan Thai was no stranger to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, affected by safety regulations and smaller allowed capacity.