After a year at the Warehouse Food Hall, Aroi Thai is preparing to move into the former Village Inn building in Craig

Ann Seewald stands at the window of Aroi Thai, which she opened inside the Warehouse Food Hall on Dec. 1, 2021. Now, Seewald is preparing to open a full-service Thai food restaurant inside the former Village Inn building in Craig.
Courtesy photo

Aroi Thai, an authentic Thai restaurant that has built a strong following its first year, has closed temporarily with plans to reopen in a new, larger space after the new year. 

Aroi Thai has spent a year operating out of the Warehouse Food Hall in Craig, and Aroi Thai owners Ann and Pete Seewald are ready to branch out and expand into a full-service restaurant. 

Ann said she has dreamed about opening a restaurant after she and her family had restaurants in Thailand when she was little. Ann also had her own restaurant before moving to the United States, and she enjoys making food for people. 

On Dec. 1, 2021, the Seewalds opened Aroi Thai in a vendor space at the Warehouse Food Hall with Ann in the kitchen developing the menu that features authentic Thai food.

Now, they are working on remodeling the former Village Inn building, which the couple purchased in July with plans to reopen as a full-service Thai restaurant in the spring. 

The move will allow the Seewalds more control over their business, such as with the waitstaff and cashiering, as well as with expanding the menu and creating their vision for a sit-down family restaurant experience. 

“That’s her biggest thing,” Pete said. “(Ann) likes to make people happy with her food. She loves it when people come up to her after their meal and tell her that it was good. That’s why she is doing this.” 

An authentic Thai dish and Thai tea at Aroi Thai.
Courtesy photo

Originally, Ann considered opening a food truck with a small crew. But one day, she and her family were at the Warehouse Food Hall eating when she thought about becoming a vendor there. Once Ann and Pete saw the space and understood the concept, they asked about renting a booth. 

The startup costs at the food hall turned out to be less than a food truck, Pete said. And it provided a starting point for Ann to build her menu and launch the business. 

In the first year, some days were busier than others, but overall, Aroi Thai saw a steady incline in sales and Ann began to build a regular customer base. There were even customers who came in daily, and Ann learned to recognize them by their orders as soon as they came up on the kitchen queue. 

Window and menu at Aroi Thai, which moved form the Warehouse Food Hall and will be opening a full-service restaurant in the former Village Inn.
Amber Delay/Craig Press

Pete and Ann said they are especially appreciative of Warehouse owner Amanda Montgomery, and everyone at the food hall for giving them an opportunity to be a part of the team and see if Aroi Thai could become something bigger. 

The Seewalds said they looked at other locations in Craig to expand the business. However, not all of them were in good locations, some needed more work and some were rentals, which didn’t make sense for the couple.

The first mention of moving into the former Village Inn at 1103 W. Victory Way was met with some skepticism, as couple thought it was too big of a space to fill. But then the Seewalds started to think seriously about what they could do with it, and they decided to put in an offer. 

Since the sale closed in July, Ann and Pete have been working with consultants to get plans ready to remodel the former Village Inn building. 

“Overall, we want to provide Craig with something very modern and full-service,” Pete said, adding that the new location will be serving breakfast through dinner. 

The new full-scale restaurant will also require a full staff. Depending on how many people are able to work full-time, Pete estimates there could be 40 or more employees, but the hope is that Aroi Thai can be a part of Craig’s future and continue to grow along with the community. 

“I don’t think our little town is going to close its doors,” Pete said. “It’s going to grow over time and become more modern, so we may as well be a part of that.” 

People can follow the restaurant on Facebook for updates and an official opening date in 2023.

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