At the time, the restaurant was not yet discovered by Wichita Thai food fans. We walked in to an empty dining room, and immediately Jeff was there, treating us as if we were visitors in his home. He was hospitable and kind, and even though his English wasn’t perfect, he stopped to visit several times during our meal. Besides his co-owner wife, Vatsana, in the kitchen, Jeff was the restaurant’s only employee.
Jeff died on July 22 in his native Laos. He was 54, said his newphew, Keo Saysombat. He’d discovered he had incurable stomach cancer earlier this year and chose to return to Laos to live out his final days.
Jeff and Vatsana also owned Bangkok Thai Restaurant at 2020 S. Rock Road. Vatsana, who just recently returned to Wichita from Laos, hasn’t gone back to work there yet but plans to, her nephew said. In the meantime, he is keeping the restaurant afloat.The family closed Taste of Thai in May when Jeff no longer felt well enough to run it. Carrie reported today that a new restaurant will go into the space soon.
Jeff and Vatsana have a 14-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son.
My deepest sympathies to the Saysombat family.