Thai restaurant to make its debut

MIDDLEBURY — Owners of downtown Middlebury’s Battell Block confirmed on Monday that a Thai restaurant will soon move into the vacancy at 22 Merchants Row, a spot most recently occupied by Doria’s restaurant.

The new restaurant will be operated by Ornan “Art” Jilandharn, who is no stranger to Vermont’s culinary scene. He already operates the Thai Orchid Restaurant in Montpelier and the Ocha Thai Restaurant in Waterbury. Jilandharn is still fleshing out his business plan for the Middlebury enterprise — which will likely include sushi — and will provide more details at a later date, according to Alice Quesnel, building operations manager for building owner Battell LLC.

A scan of the Ocha Thai Restaurant’s menu shows a variety of appetizers and entrees, including dragon shrimp, spicy minced chicken or tofu, Pad Ped, Pra Ram, duck curry, pad Thai, and Kao-Soi. Prices start at $3.50 for some appetizers and top out at $20 for some entrees.

“We are delighted to welcome Art Jilandharn to the Middlebury downtown business community,” said Bruce Hiland, co-owner of the Battell Block. “Art has built successful restaurant businesses in Montpelier and Waterbury and we look forward with great anticipation to the opening of his new restaurant on Merchants Row later this fall.”

Quesnel noted that the new tenant will bring the Battell Block up to 100-percent occupancy.

“We are looking forward to many years of good food and good neighbors,” she said.

Workers will perform some minor renovations to the 2,343-square-foot space to get it ready for the new restaurant, according to Quesnel.

The renovations will be straightforward because 22 Merchants Row has hosted restaurants for more than two decades. The space was the longtime home to Amigo’s Cantina, then to Doria’s Restaurant. Doria’s closed in April of 2010 following a two-year run. Battell LLC officials have spent more than a year looking for the right tenant for the space, processing numerous inquiries and offers — largely from folks in the food service industry.

Donna Donahue, president of the Better Middlebury Partnership board, was pleased to hear about the new restaurant venture and said it should be a good complement to the downtown’s business scene.

“I am thrilled it is a Thai restaurant,” she said.

Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.


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