The husband-and-wife duo behind Brooklyn’s former Bangkok-style street food truck, Warbung Roadside, is going to open a sit-down restaurant, Little Grenjai, at 477 Gates Avenue in Bed-Stuy around late June or early July, co-owner and chef Trevor Lombaer confirms.
The couple, Lombaer and Sutathip Aiemsaard, started selling pad thai out of a converted hot dog cart from Craigslist at pop-ups around Brooklyn in 2017. It quickly became a famed food truck, but after about five-years the truck began to break down, so they sold it and switched gears. They started a Thai pop-up shop, Sagaponack Supper Club, in the Hamptons, and set their sights on a Brooklyn brick-and-mortar.
Once settling on and building out their space in Bed–Stuy, the couple kept busy. They offered a temporary delivery-only service while working out of a ghost kitchen, which Lombaer says gave him the opportunity to experiment with new recipes.
“It was kind of a test run because we knew the build-out would take some time,” he says.
The new restaurant will lean into Thai-American cuisine, blending Lombaer’s background as a Chicago-native where he says “roadside blue-collar food” that is “cheap” yet “delicious” abounds with his training in Thai cuisine that he got while traveling in the Southeast Asian country. It was on his months-long trip there that he met his wife and business partner, Aiemsaard.
“It will be a fun playground for me to play in,” the chef says about creating Thai-American cuisine. “There are endless possibilities.”
He says the small restaurant space will function as a coffee bar with comedy acts during the day, and a more serious sit-down spot with beer and wine at night.
The menu on their website has small plates including but not limited to cucumber salad with szechuan peppercorn chili crisp, peek gai tod crispy chicken wings, gai satay chicken skewers with crunchy chili peanut sauce, as well as large plates including but not limited to minced pork holy basil stir fry, duck or mushroom laab, and khao soi ramen. There are various vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.
Grenjai is a popular Thai phrase that has no direct English translation but speaks to showing consideration for others. Customers can expect that attitude to define the atmosphere of the duo’s first brick-and-mortar restaurant.
“I just can’t wait to have a space where we can serve people in-person,” he says.