In 1980, the first Thai restaurant opened its doors in St. Louis. Since then, the King and I has made its mark in St. Louis’s culinary history winning numerous awards and accolades. The King and I has been selected by the Riverfront Times newspaper as the best Thai restaurant 16 times. The restaurant is well-known for its authentic Thai cuisine and excellent service. The Prapaisilp family saw the potential to add flavor to the area already known for its vast diversity of culture and dining. From these humble beginnings, the first Thai restaurant in St. Louis was born.
As the first Thai restaurant in the city, the King and I serves not only as an authentic Thai restaurant, but as an ambassador to the Royal Kingdom of Thailand. The restaurant prides itself in introducing and expanding people’s knowledge of Thai cuisine. It is common to hear customers who have been to Thailand share their experience about the country and comment on how the dishes taste just like the ones prepared in Thailand. The King and I uses authentic recipes and only uses the freshest ingredients. The curry paste and sauces are made from scratch, and the restaurant focuses on maintaining the food’s authentic Thai taste. The King and I is famous for its Chicken Satay, Thai Ravioli, Papaya salad, and many other dishes.
The interior is a mix of Thai and Western styles. The King and I can seat more than 175 people in the main dining area. There are also six “Kantok” style tables where patrons may sit in the traditional style of Northern Thais. The bar seats 12, and the restaurant can accommodate up to 120 people for banquets.
Apart from serving delicious food, the restaurant is also focused on its social responsibility to the community. The King and I is a member of the South Grand Development District whose aims are to build up the South Grand community. The King and I has also participated in Dining Out for Life, a fund-raise that donates part of the restaurant’s profit to AIDS research. Mr. Prapaisilp, the main proprietor of the restaurant was recognized by then Attorney General Janet Reno for being one of the first restaurants to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Local projects that the King and I is involved in are the Dog Parade and Pride Fest, in the St. Louis community, the King and I is not only a restaurant, but a neighbor and community icon.
The King and I has become a staple for many people in St. Louis. Come customers have been coming since the earliest days of its opening and have remained loyal customers to this day. One couple first visited the restaurant when they were dating, now married with kids, they continue to patronize the restaurant. The King and I can cause a sense of intense loyalty among some. One customer, upon learning of his flight being delayed at the airport, took a cab to the King and I and had a meal, while the cab waited outside. Such loyalty from customers does not come easy, however, the King and I’s commitment to service and taste has served to make it as the original, and best Thai restaurant in St. Louis