By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski GETOUT Editor
Akshat Sethi had an itch. The successful financier/entrepreneur wanted to try his hand at being a restaurateur.
Eight years ago, he created Thai Chili, a sit-down restaurant in Chandler that boasts nearly 70 menu choices. It became a neighborhood favorite.
“My family approached me about doing something in the restaurant (industry),” said Sethi, who moved here from New Delhi, India, at age 23. “My background is in financial services. I concurred, and I love it.”
The real boom came with Thai Chili 2 Go, a chain of fast-casual restaurants that simplifies the Asian country’s cuisine. Sethi has Thai Chili 2 Go eateries in Queen Creek, southeast Mesa and Gilbert.
An additional Gilbert location, a take-out-only restaurant, is slated to open Tuesday, July 17 at 1887 E. Williams Field Road, Suite 101.
This location was important to him for several reasons.
“I did some research and there is a lot of residential around there,” Sethi said. “The positioning of that store is outstanding. It’s surrounded by businesses and big anchor stores, and there’s a big employer base there. We’re looking forward to taking care of the residents and employers there.
“Trader Joe’s is coming in front of the storefront. That could be a good draw for people to check us out and try our food.”
It will be only one of four restaurants in Arizona to use self-order kiosks, Zivelo, instead of numerous front-of-house employees. That day, the first 100 customers will receive a free entrée.
Afterward, free dumplings will be given to other customers once the 100 entrees have been given.
“We’re always looking for ways to provide our customers with an excellent experience, fast,” Sethi said. “We are excited to be on the forefront of bringing this technology to our stores, which ultimately benefits the customer by providing an even more efficient ordering process.”
Thai Chili 2 Go offers myriad dish choices, but this one will have a limited menu. Menu choices include starters, such as dumplings, and two varieties of Thai hot and sour soup.
There are a variety of familiar and traditional main entrée dishes including pad prig pao, spicy eggplant, red curry, panang curry and drunken noodles.
“The majority of our menu is geared toward rice and noodles,” he said. “Thai curries are the best sellers. We’ve taken off a few items, like sweet and sour chicken and pad siew, just from this store.”
The foundation of Thai Chili 2 Go’s success, he says, is authentic ingredients. Sethi doesn’t short-change when it comes to recipes. Everything is 100 percent Thai. Non-GMO tofu and non-GMO rice bran is used, instead of canola or soybean oil.
“Everything is fresh to order,” he says. “The only way to give you good food is to cook it fresh. You want pad Thai with chicken, spicy hot? We cook it for you in front of you. The kitchen is open.”
Thai Chili 2 Go
1887 E. Williams Field Road, Suite 101, Gilbert
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily