Gindi owners plan Dawn Thai Steakhouse & Sushi Bar in former Derby Smashburger space

WICHITA — Lou Kumgool is about to make a lot of Derby residents happy.

Ever since she opened Gindi Thai Cuisine & Sushi Bar in the former Back Yard Burgers space at West 21st Street near Ridge Road in 2008, Kumgool has been hearing from her Derby and east-side customers who want her to open closer to them.

So that’s what she’s now doing.

Kumgool and her husband, Philip Sayavong, are opening Dawn Thai Steakhouse & Sushi Bar next month in the former Smashburger space at 1220 N. Rock Road in Derby.

This makes her family’s fifth restaurant, including three in St. Louis.

“This one is all about me, about my adventure,” Kumgool says.

She’s even named the restaurant after herself. Kumgool says her Thai first name, Roungaroon, means “dawn.”

Kumgool says her father named her because she was born at 5 a.m. He was sitting in a waiting room while her mother gave birth, and when he first heard Kumgool’s cries, he looked outside and saw the sun rising.

Kumgool says Dawn will be all about her experiences “through traveling and eating — my passion of eating.”

She plans a fusion restaurant.

“It’s going to be more fusion — east meets west.”

That includes dishes such as a KC strip with basil sauce.

Kumgool plans to add those dishes to Gindi’s menu as well.

“It’s still going very well,” she says of Gindi.

Dawn will have seating for about 75 inside and another 20 on the patio. There will be a full bar with what Kumgool calls a collection of cocktails from around the world.

“It’s going to be modern, hip and fun,” she says. “This is what I like to bring to Derby people.”