A tipster passed along a post from Facebook page of longtime San Diego restaurant owner Alex Thao, in which Thao announced today that he will close and step away from several of his local holdings. Shuttering immediately is Rama, one of Thao's original Thai restaurants which first opened in the Gaslamp in 2002.
Thao goes on to say that his SAJA Korean Kitchen, which debuted last summer, is scheduled to close on Wednesday, September 16 to make way for new ownership and a fresh concept. Referring to Lucky Liu's, the pan-Asian eatery that popped up downtown in 2013, Thao says he is "transferring management responsibilities".
He indicates that he will remain dedicated to running Sovereign Kitchen + Bar, the upscale Vietnamese restaurant and adjacent grab-and-go Food Shop that opened earlier this year, saying that some of Rama's signature dishes would transfer over to the 5th Avenue eatery. Originally positioned as a comeback for internationally-known chef Michael 'Bao' Huynh, the chef and Thao parted ways just as the project was launching.
Thao closed the post, entitled "Goodbye, Thank You and Hello Sovereign!" with this message, "Upon reflection, we feel a strong sense of both accomplishment and gratitude. It has been an honor to serve San Diego with diverse dining options and warm hospitality. Again, I personally acknowledge and say "thank you" to the many loyal diners and staff, who contributed to a great run. Also, a special nod to our comrades in hospitality, who continue to put San Diego on the culinary map. Restaurant work is neither easy nor linear. No two days are ever the same, but we do it for the love of the journey and the reward of pleasing our public."