It’s another Festivus miracle, Thai food fans! Instead of shutting down his 32-year-old eponymous restaurant as he previously hinted at, Arun Sampanthavivat has instead chosen to, as he says, “revive” it.
On January 1, Arun’s (4156 N. Kedzie Ave.) as we know it, will close, and the chef will spearhead five weeks of renos, both cosmetic (adding brand-new, more efficient kitchen equipment and creating a “more comfortable” look) and cuisine-wise.
“[The food will be] even more refined than before—classic fine Thai dining in the full sense,” Sampanthavivat promises. “The menu will be more healthy, organic.” You’ll find set menus only, with a 10-courser running $100 per person, while $120 will buy a dozen courses. Drinks—to include what Sampanthavivat deems, “a more professional wine program,” with bottles sourced from all parts of the world—will cost additional.
This all comes as a happy surprise for diners, who expected the restaurant to close for good once the 69-year-old chef found a buyer for the building. Instead, he has brought in his friend Kittigron Lirtpanaruk as his partner. The New York-based investor owns around 20 restaurants, according to Sampanthavivat.
Perhaps the most exciting tidbit for Sampanthavivat’s fans: When the restaurant reopens in early February, their main man will be back in the kitchen. “I will be the chef. I will concentrate more on food. For the first time, I don’t have to do anything else and I will have more time for the food. And that is good,” he says.