Sellwood's about to get a Thai spot with an impressive pedigree: Former Pok Pok and Ping chef Ekkachai Sakkayasukkalawong — who Andy Ricker affectionately dubbed "Chef Chew" when he helped open Pok Pok four years ago — will soon open Manao in the SE Milwauke space that most recently housed Papaya Thai.
"Andy is the one who started to call me 'Chef Chew,'" Sakkayasukkalawong says, before launching into some modesty: "He said it went well together. I am not a chef, but like to cook food that I had when I was in Thailand and the food my parents used to cook for my family." Also involved in the project: The ever ubiquitous ChefStable, which owner Kurt Huffman says is doing pro bono work on the project. "He approached me about six months ago saying he was going to buy his own restaurant and do a 20-item menu [with a] really interesting bar program," Huffman says. "The work we've done on that is pro bono work. Neither Andy or I are investors in the project or own anything in the project, we just want to bring some awesome Thai food to Sellwood."
Manao's projected opening date: September 2011.
Image of Papaya Thai courtesy Gotime.com