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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First Look: Thai 202 Offers Sweet and Spicy Take-out in the Central West End

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Mi Lee, Art Lee, Sally Lee and Joe Lee of Thai 202. - MABEL SUEN
  • Mabel Suen
  • Mi Lee, Art Lee, Sally Lee and Joe Lee of Thai 202.

Restauranteur Art Lee keeps it all in the family when it comes to food. Growing up in Thailand, his family ran an open market grocery store. He says the skills he gained then come in handy even now for the new business, Thai 202 (235 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-2002), which he runs with his wife and son.

Thai 202, which promotes the slogan, "Advanced Thai Food" -- a smart marketing ploy, considering the area's nearby college-aged population -- opened just a couple weeks ago in the Central West End space formerly inhabited by Audi-K's.

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Papaya salad with tomatoes, green beans, carrots and peanuts. - MABEL SUEN
  • Mabel Suen
  • Papaya salad with tomatoes, green beans, carrots and peanuts.

On a Saturday afternoon, plenty of passersby wander into the restaurant to peruse the new menu. Others have already become regulars, ordering cups of Thai iced tea with white boats filled with brightly colored papaya salad, big bowls of noodles and curry to-go. Lee mans the counter while his wife Sally Lee (who he refers to as the expert in Thai cooking), son Joe Lee, and relative Mi Lee prepare and walk dishes out to dine-in guests.

Art Lee first came to the states as a student in 1976, but ended up opening and running restaurants in Chicago instead, which kept him busy for twenty years. Thai 202 is the second Thai food restaurant owned by Lee in the St. Louis area and follows his eight-and-a-half year old establishment Blue Elephant (7816 Forsyth Boulevard; 314-862-0500), now run by his daughter Aticha Lee.

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