Driving by the shuttered King and I space was like walking past the graveyard where an old friend had gone to rest. So, so sad.
The friend who gave you so many good memories, cooked fabulous towers of Pad Thai to nurse your hangover, while you simultaneously cultivated another on Tiki drinks, with house music throbbing in the background.
You've never met anyone quite like it since -- the ultimate friend with benefits -- the one who would receive you into the dark, mysterious comfort of her underground lair, play just the record you needed to hear and ply you with vodka, naam pla, and pure unadulterated lovin'.
Reliable to the end, always tasty, sending you back into the cold world satiated and happily spent.
See also: King and I Thai to close December 17
When downtown's best Thai restaurant shuttered after 30 years in December 2012, devotees cried End of an Era. The institution's impossible-to-replicate mind-meld of dive bar, DJ sets, heavy-handed mixologists and real-deal Thai cuisine was enchantingly addictive to all who came.
At the time, the owners were quoted as saying they were calling it quits -- the lease ending on their space was a signal that they should move on:
"I'm just getting old," said Gary and Chavhian Haanpaa, in a joint statement. "It's been a 30-year run, and I appreciate the customers we've had and the people that worked here. It's just time to hop on to that horse and ride into the sunset, like in the old Westerns."
Well, maybe an old Western with a sequel.
King and I Thai has announced via Facebook that they will reopen, albeit in a new location:
"I'm sorry for all the mystery and few answers. We would like to assure you that yes we are in the process of reopening at a new location. We will be providing more details in the following weeks.Thank you to everyone and the awesome excitement!! We look forward to fulfilling your craving with chef Pu's amazing dishes."
The pair were not reachable for a statement, but of course the speculation is on: What neighborhood? Will it in any way match the just-right vibe of the old?
For the moment, let's just have a few moments of excessive celebration, as these handful of Facebook commenters did:
We will continue to update as the story develops.
King and I has posted a photo on their Facebook Page of a Bread, Coffee and Cake situated in a Mendota Heights strip mall reading "Future home of the new King and I Thai. First time in 33 years we will have parking!!!!"
Denizens of that suburb are hooting in celebration, while city folk are crying in our coffee this morning.
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