Hope for the future and love for cooking brings pair to Mercer Island

The owner of Anise Thai Cuisine, Busara “A” Vijitkomol, with her daughter Pim, at the new restaurant next to Starbucks on S.E. 27th. - Linda Ball/Staff Photo
The owner of Anise Thai Cuisine, Busara “A” Vijitkomol, with her daughter Pim, at the new restaurant next to Starbucks on S.E. 27th.
— image credit: Linda Ball/Staff Photo

When Busara “A” Vijitkomol moved back to the United States four years ago, she did so for her daughter, 16-year-old Pim.

Vijitkomol had lived in the United States 25 years ago, studying English. She went back to Thailand, earned her MBA and ran her own business, which she described as sort of like Pike Place Market, on property she still owns. Back in Thailand, Vijitkomol has 11 brothers and sisters, one of whom is a judge, who keep the business thriving.

But she found that her daughter, who earned a prestigious President’s Award, wanted to come to the U.S. to get a better education and learn English.

“That was the turning point,” Vijitkomol said.

Plus, she said, it’s too hot and humid in Thailand. She and Pim chose the Seattle area because she said the rain is good for their health.

Vijitkomol knew she wanted to start a small business to support herself and her daughter, so she started looking around. She was befriended by a retired English professor, Dr. Wayne Dupont, who not only helped her brush up on her English, but served as a sounding board for her on businesses she was looking at.

He didn’t think a restaurant was such a good idea since she had never run one.

But Vijitkomol loves to cook. Growing up, her chore was to cook for all of her brothers and sisters — and her parent’s employees. She enjoys cooking healthy Thai food, and thanks her mom now for having her do the cooking.

“Normally, I cook every meal for my daughter,” she said. “I love to eat — I don’t know why I’m so skinny.”

Anise Thai was formerly Northwest Thai. Vijitkomol went in the restaurant when the former owner was there. She told the owner that the food she was serving wasn’t real Thai food. The owner didn’t want to do anything to improve on the restaurant, so she offered to sell it to Vijitkomol.

She painted the dining room, and made a few changes in decor, but her biggest investment was into the kitchen appliances and fixtures, new dishes and new flatware.

Vijitkomol said she has a knack for interior design. It shows. Her decor is minimalist, with warm earth tones and clean, tasteful lines.

Appealing to health-conscious diners, there is a regular menu with favorites such as Pad Thai, Pad Kee Mao and for the meat lover, Crying Tiger, which is grilled rib eye slices tossed with lime chili sauce. Then, it’s all available on separate vegetarian or gluten-free menus.

Anise Thai also serves wine and beer.

Stop in and say hello and welcome mother and daughter, who also live on Mercer Island. And stay to enjoy the cuisine.

Anise Thai Cuisine, at 7691 S.E. 27th (next to Starbucks), is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and on the weekend from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

The restaurant can be reached at (206) 236-2255.

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