In 2003, Pipat Sripimolphan was a newcomer to Sudbury looking for employment. Thirteen years later, he’s a successful four-time restaurateur who continues to introduce new dining experiences to the people of the North.
An electrical engineer by training, Sripimolphan started his new life in Canada working in a Thai restaurant where he honed his skills in the hospitality industry.
Market research had shown there was untapped potential to bring traditional Thai cuisine to the region, and Sripimolphan took up the challenge. By 2007, he decided to start his own business and opened the first My Thai Palace in Sudbury.
All his ingredients are ordered fresh, weekly, from a wholesaler in Toronto, who imports authentic ingredients directly from Asian markets.
“Items are prepared fresh, provided at a competitive price, and offer a completely different dining experience or our area,” notes the 39-year-old in his biography.
On the menu are savoury soups and crisp salads, rice and noodle dishes, curries, and seafood. The restaurant’s pad Thai — stir-fried rice noodles with tiger shrimp, chicken, egg, tofu, green onion, and tamarind sauce, served with ground peanut on the side — is an especially popular option.
The restaurant is praised by patrons with dietary restrictions for its vegetarian options, and chefs are flexible in preparing meals to accommodate individual dietary regimes.
For many Northerners, My Thai Palace offered their first experience with Thai food, and the quality of the food and customer service keeps them returning.
“The ability to create the same experience in all locations is a true testament of the quality of ownership of these restaurants,” says Trista Munro in her testimonial.
“There are not many restaurants in the Greater Sudbury area that I am constantly recommending, but My Thai Palace is definitely one of them.”
My Thai Palace was such a hit Sripimolphan opened a second Sudbury location in 2011 in the city’s south end, and a North Bay location in 2012.
Last year, Sripimolphan branched out again, introducing a new dining experience to Northerners with Aroy Dee, a 200-seat, all-you-can-eat Asian fusion restaurant in North Bay.
On arrival, guests are given an iPad with a visual menu, from which they select their food choices, and their orders are sent to the chefs. “Runners” bring their food to the table.
The cultural offerings on order are vast: Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Korean dishes are all on the menu.
Sripimolphan has done all this without any assistance from government funding agencies and now boasts $3.5 million in annual sales.
More than just expanding and tantalizing the palates of Northerners, Sripimolphan is offering work to 65 people in his four restaurant locations.
Amongst his employees are newcomer chefs from his home country who have immigrated to Canada and, as Sripimolphan did, integrated into the community.
“Pipat has made considerable personal and financial investment while owning and operating these four businesses, and continues to investigate opportunities to expand his business module,” said Judy Benvenuti, coordinator at the Sudbury Regional Business Centre.
“A visit to one of his establishments is a showcase to his hard work, dedication and excellent service.”
For his efforts, Sripimolphan was recognized in 2012 by the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce as Entrepreneur of the Year at the Bell Business Excellence Awards.