BRATTLEBORO — Two couples from Keene, N.H., opened a new Thai restaurant downtown with the goal of bringing Bangkok to Brattleboro.
High Thai, on High Street, combines the expertise of Adam Drone and Heidi Gaeddert, and Ubonrat and Peera Voravittayathorn.
"For a small group of four people to take on a project this big, our skills were equally divided for what we need," Gaeddert said.
Drone has worked with two start-up businesses and in the craft beer industry. He knows about licensing and permitting, and has contacts for contractors. Gaeddert, his girlfriend, specializes in interior design and graphic design, and has more than 10 years of experience waiting tables.
Peera's family owns the building and constructed it around 1999. They ran a Thai restaurant in the space for about five years, then leased it to another family for the same use for about five years.
The restaurant closed in 2018, and the family has been looking to sell the building. Drone met Peera when working at Modestman Brewing in Keene, where they discussed the prospect of opening a restaurant.
Peera, formerly a professional drummer, and Ubonrat, formerly a flight attendant, met while living in Bangkok. They have traveled all over the world and are cooking the meals inspired by their home country.
High Thai opened Jan. 8. Peera came up with the menu that he described as being "contemporary Thai."
His family owns Thai Garden in Keene. Having always been around Thai food and the restaurant industry, he said he wanted to do something of his own.
The menu reflects what he personally enjoys eating in Thailand rather than what people expect Thai food to be in America. Touring and his background in restaurants turned him into a self-proclaimed foodie.
Peera said the curry at High Thai tastes exactly like what you would get in Thailand.
For alcohol selections, Gaeddert selects the wine, and Drone picks out the beer.
"We want to be craft beer- and wine-focused, and then quick snacks and casual food," Drone said. "I think there's been a need for a Thai restaurant in Brattleboro."
When renovating the space, the couples regularly frequented the neighboring Hermit Thrush Brewery. Drone said since the brewery won't have a taproom open during the winter months, the restaurant will offer one of its beers on tap to show support.
Drone said the curries are vegan. They don't contain fish sauces or oyster sauces, which are sometimes used to salt curry.
Gaeddert said she enjoys Brattleboro because of its culture, values and architecture. After living in New York City, she started to feel a little overwhelmed.
"Brattleboro has the character of a bigger city, but it's a smaller community," she said. "And just the geography, the mountains, the river and the train that's down there connecting us to New York, and the people coming north on the highway to go skiing."
So far, Drone has seen a good mix of locals and visitors. He has heard from customers who are happy to see a Thai restaurant back in the location.
During renovations, the owners noticed most other downtown restaurants are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. That's why they decided to be open Friday through Tuesday from noon to 9 p.m.
The owners named the restaurant after High Street where it is located, and because it rhymes and the food is "elevated."
Ubonrat pointed to a map with tacks asking customers to "mark a place to remember." Brattleboro and Bangkok were marked.
"You can learn our cultures from the food," Ubonrat said.