By Scott Carlson
When Karta Thai recently closed its doors at 2295 Como Ave. to focus on its Roseville location, regulars of the St. Anthony Park restaurant lamented the news.
After all, many customers in the Park had grown accustomed to enjoying the cuisine of the Asian eatery.
But not to fear, a similar-themed restaurant has taken the old Karta Thai’s quarters: It’s called Lanna Thai.
At press time, Lanna Thai was scheduled to debut on July 16, coincidentally the day co-owners Dan and Apple Tersteeg got married in 2016.
“All of this must have happened for a reason,” Dan said about the serendipity of that calendar date.
Lanna Thai will have a wide variety of native dishes including what the Tersteegs say is authentic Thai cuisine, i.e., often spicier food.
Why a Thai restaurant?
“I love to cook Thai and for people to eat my food,” Apple said. Dan, an environmental consultant, said he will spend time helping his wife run the restaurant.
Lanna Thai is named after the northern region of Thailand where Apple said she spent most of her growing up years.
Dan said starting their own restaurant this summer is fortuitous since “Apple’s mom and dad (who are from Thailand) are staying with us for the summer. It is their first trip to the U.S. to see (4-year-old grandson) Siam.
“Apple is happy to have them (her parents) around to spend time with Siam, and also happy to be able to cook with her mom and get the authentic family sauces and recipes for the restaurant,” Dan said. “Many of the Lanna Special dishes on the menu are dishes she grew up with.”
The Tersteegs, who live in St. Anthony Park, said opening their restaurant represents further sinking their roots in the community. And for Apple, the restaurant represents a labor of love and the latest stop in her work in Thai restaurants.
Apple most recently worked at Karta Thai as a chef, server and manager. Prior to working at Karta Thai, Apple served at Pad Thai on Grand Avenue in St. Paul where her duties ranged from waitress (that’s where she met Dan, her future husband) to manager.
The Tersteegs bought the St. Anthony Park Karta Thai from Terry Spotts and Sandy Khunsri, Dan Tersteeg said.
For Dan, this isn’t his first contact with St. Anthony Park. He earned two science degrees while attending the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus.
“Attending college at the St. Paul campus is what made me familiar with this neighborhood,” Dan said. “Actually, I used to park on the street right in front of the house we live in now!”
Scott Carlson is managing editor of the Park Bugle