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Ready to Thai one on

Naomi Havlen

Prepare your taste buds for Thai food in Aspen: Siamese Basil could open in the restaurant space beneath Cooper Street Bar as soon as Memorial Day weekend.

The restaurant replaces Lucci’s, a family friendly Italian eatery that closed this spring after 14 years in business.

Restaurateur Bindeshor Kakshapati is branching out in Aspen after the success of his other exotic restaurants in the Roaring Fork Valley. The native of Kathmandu, Nepal, already owns thriving Nepalese restaurants – at the Spring Valley turnoff near Glenwood Springs and another on Rio Grande Place in Aspen – and opened a Siamese Basil in Glenwood Springs in mid-April.

“Last year I noticed a lack of Indian food in Aspen, and that’s why we opened Restaurant Nepal on Rio Grande Place,” he said. “Now we’re trying Thai food because I think people are looking for it.”

Kakshapati, 44, a Glenwood Springs resident, has lived in Colorado since 1992. He moved to the United States in 1990 to live in California, but said he was drawn here because of the mountains, even though they’re much smaller than his native Himalayas.

“I don’t get homesick here,” he said of the valley’s mountains.

With high rents and two annual offseasons, Aspen is a notoriously difficult place to open a restaurant. But Kakshapati said the Aspen branch of Restaurant Nepal has gathered a loyal following and hasn’t seen a drop off in business during this offseason.

“I’m fully confident that we’re going to treat people well and have a variety of food,” he said. “There are a lot of good restaurants in Glenwood Springs, and so far people also love Siamese Basil.”

The former Lucci’s location is undergoing some remodeling for the Thai restaurant. In Glenwood Springs, Siamese Basil took over the former South Glen Avenue location of Juanito’s, a Mexican restaurant specializing in seafood.

Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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