West Milford Thai Restaurant celebrates Grand Opening
Owner Molly Pomsanam, father Sawai Pomsanam, and Mayor Michele Dale (center) officially get things going during West Milford Thai Restaurant's ribbon-cutting on Sunday.
garrett hemmerich photos
By Garrett Hemmerich WEST MILFORD – West Milford Thai Restaurant, located in Bald Eagle Square on Cahill Cross Road, celebrated its grand opening on Sunday. “I think it went great,” said new owner Mullica Pomsanam. “Everybody had all good things to say.” Pomsanam, who prefers to be called "Molly," had some concerns over daylight savings time and some unexpected weather Saturday night, but none of that stopped people from coming out to support the restaurant, including Mayor Michele Dale. ”I would encourage that everybody come out and give them a try,” Dale said. “We’ve just had a sampling of wonderful food.” During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Dale talked about the importance of local business before congratulating Ponsamam and her team and thanking them for trusting West Milford as the location of its business. Pomsanam actually had the grand opening to reintroduce West Milford Thai Restaurant to the community as it officially opened back in September of 2018. The previous owner, who had been in business for 15 years, decided to close last year at the end of June and approached his longtime friend and Pomsanam’s father, Sawai Pomsanam, about taking over. Sawai Pomsanam had worked at the previous restaurant and knew the customers and community, so he didn’t want to see the location lose its Thai restaurant. His time at the previous restaurant was also far from Sawai Pomsanam’s only experience. He’s been helping Thai restaurants up and down the east coast for more than 40 years with setting up their menus, supervising their openings, etc. According to Molly Pomsanam, when the previous owner spoke with Sawai about taking the business over, the first thing he said was that he had to speak with his daughter. “It was hard for me to leave my other job,” she said. Pomsanam had been working as a social worker in a nursing home for the previous 11 years, although she spent plenty of time helping out at her father’s restaurants while growing up. She credits her father with helping her make the transition, and also credits his vast experience with finding the chef and putting together the staff. They’re both very grateful to the previous owner for helping them during the transition as well, and they consider it an honor that he chose them to take over. The Pomsanams did make a few changes, though, such as brightening up the space a bit, creating a new menu, and bringing in an all-new staff. That new staff includes chef Yongyuth Pisupan, who has more than 35 years of experience working as a Thai chef in restaurants all over the country. The chef will also cater to any dietary request or need, whether it’s vegan, due to food allergies, etc. The new staff also includes Natt, the manager, whom Molly Pomsanam credits with getting things running smoothly and keeping them that way. And while the restaurant has already done a lot of community outreach, like donating gift certificates to the high school and several different churches, Pomsanam intends on doing more to help the community and give back. ”I just have a heart for that. That’s what I’ve done for 11 years working in a nursing home,” she said. ”That part of me still is there and that’s what I want to give back, as far as our customers.” Starting a customer loyalty program and senior citizen discount are some of the ways Pomsanam plans on doing that. “We’re very family oriented and we want to treat our customers like that as well,” she said. They seem to be off to a good start. “It’s wonderful,” said Claire Mandeville, a local attendee of the opening and an acquaintance of the previous owner. “Don’t tell our pizza guy, but Tuesday night is pizza night and we might switch.” “My girlfriend brought me to a couple of Thai places and I didn’t really like it,” said Leonard Pikaard, another local resident at the grand opening. “But this place is delicious.” Pomsanam said she was very grateful to all the new and old customers for supporting the restaurant and also thanked her longtime friend Dawna Mangon and aunt Janice Manges for helping to make the grand opening happen.