Did you know? The first ever Thai restaurant in the United States wasn’t on the coasts. It was actually in Denver! Denver’s Chada Thai is known as the first Thai restaurant in the U.S. It was opened in 1959. “Some of the Thais in Denver said it would be a big mistake, that Americans don’t like spiced food,” its owner Lai-iad “Lilly” Chittivej said in a 1963 Denver Post article. Chittivej immigrated to the U.S. with her doctor husband and ran Chada Thai until 1972. Her daughter-in-law and grandson run a new restaurant of the same name, also in Denver.
By the 1960s, more Thai restaurants began to open in Los Angeles, and soon after Americans had gone crazy for Thai.
Hard to believe that only 60 years ago, most people in America had never tasted Pad Thai or Panang curry! Now, Thai food is one of the most popular cuisines in the US, with new Thai restaurants popping up around the country.