Thai Street Food has its beginnings in the Thai Food Cart, which opened on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver in February 2009. Run by owner and chef Utumporn Killoran (affectionately known to her patrons as Anna), the mobile eatery was a way for her to survive in America without a degree or TOEFL English Certificate.
Anna moved to the States in 2005 from the Isan region of northeastern Thailand, an area whose cuisine brings together Thai and Laotian traditions with a pronounced spicy kick. After deciding to pursue the food cart idea, the next task became how to create the big flavors of her homeland in a decidedly small space. The Downtown Denver Partnership imposed a strict maximum of a four feet by six feet for the pedestrian mall’s food trailers and Anna wondered how she would ever build a proper Thai kitchen within such small confines. “Is this a final project before graduation?” she wondered, feeling overwhelmed about how to make all the pieces come together.
Building out from her 4’x6′ restriction, Anna spent over a year designing (and discarding) blueprint after blueprint. Eventually her plan coalesced and she spent three months assembling the Thai Food Cart as it would come to be known. With the help of a friend and countless trips to Home Depot, Anna’s dream became a reality. Once the Thai Food Cart was open for business word of Anna’s flavorful dishes began to spread. Accolades from the press soon followed and before long it wasn’t uncommon for those seeking a taste of her Thai treats to wait upwards of an hour for their turn at the window.
In 2012, the success of the downtown cart led Anna to begin transitioning her business to a more traditional restaurant location on Montview Boulevard in Aurora. On June 28th of that summer, the Thai Food Cart closed for the final time as Anna reluctantly said goodbye to the little cart that had helped launch her business. She focused her efforts on the new Thai Street Food location which has allowed her to reach a wider audience and broader critical acclaim.
Anna still prepares each and every dish herself–from scratch and to order based on each customer’s preferences. Thai Street Food is now a carry-out only establishment, which allows for the best service and freshest food possible.