To read this story, please sign in with your email address and password.
You’ve read all your free stories this month. Subscribe now and unlock unlimited access to our stories, exclusive subscriber content, additional newsletters, invitations to special events, and more.Sign in Subscribe
Don’t have an account yet? Register here.
Simply Thai, the restaurant company with one Springfield location called Thai Express, is expanding its footprint with a new store on Campbell Ave., owner Patrick Nett said.
The new restaurant, located at 2808 S. Campbell Ave., will be called Simply Thai and will host a grand opening in early November, Nett said. Simply Thai is the sister store of Thai Express, located at 2113 W. Republic Road, which opened in April 2022.
“We’ve been planning a second location since we opened the first one,” Nett said. “We’re planning on opening as many as we can realistically open. This is a company we want to scale.”
The sister restaurants will even share a menu, Nett said, which will promote the new $5 Cashew Cups ahead of the grand opening.
$5 Cashew Cup
The new item, which will be a menu staple, is a “super affordable” spin on the dish that made Springfield famous, Nett said. It will include all the normal portions of a traditional cashew chicken plate, minus the rice.
The restaurant owner said he used economic inflation as culinary inspiration.
“Everyone knows prices are going up on everything,” Nett said.
The inside of the restaurant is nearly complete and a new sign was installed Sept. 22, Nett said. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit at the new location was vandalized, which caused additional expenses and some delays, Nett said.
Many more locations
Nett said he is hopeful the Campbell store will employ a new drive-thru concept that has an employee walking the food to a car in a designated drive-thru lane, instead of the traditional drive-thru window.
“This is a little bit more personable,” he said. “I feel like more and more restaurants are going to start doing this.”
The concept was inspired by 7 Brew Coffee and Chick-fil-A, Nett said. He expects the new location will have a lot of take-out traffic, as about 60 percent of Thai Express sales come through the drive-thru, Nett said.
To be sure, some permitting issues may force the restaurant to shift to other methods, possibly placing an emphasis on curbside pickup, Nett said.
Both Simply Thai restaurants will have about 15 to 18 employees each, Nett said. He chose the name Simply Thai after a Canadian company started franchising restaurants under the name Thai Express, he said.
Nett eventually wants to open many more Simply Thai locations, but for now is keeping his search inside the Springfield city limits.
“We still probably need at least one more location in Springfield before we start looking outside of Springfield,” Nett said.