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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Fear not: Downtown Nashua favorite Giant of Siam is moving, not closing for good

T he Giant of Siam, the popular downtown restaurant that has drawn generations of Thai food lovers over its 27 years, is closed for the time being, but customers need not fret: “The Giant,” as its many fans simply call it, is moving a few blocks north and will reopen in September.

Owner Korapin “Joy” Sueksagan said Wednesday that she plans to reopen at its new location, 90 Main St., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, but she may need to tweak the date depending on how the renovations go. ...

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T he Giant of Siam, the popular downtown restaurant that has drawn generations of Thai food lovers over its 27 years, is closed for the time being, but customers need not fret: “The Giant,” as its many fans simply call it, is moving a few blocks north and will reopen in September.

Owner Korapin “Joy” Sueksagan said Wednesday that she plans to reopen at its new location, 90 Main St., on Tuesday, Sept. 9, but she may need to tweak the date depending on how the renovations go.

“It’s hard to know right now whether that will happen or not,” she said.

But even if they miss their Sept. 9 goal, Sueksagan added, it’ll only be by a day or two.

While only about 100 square feet larger than their original digs at 5 E. Hollis St., the different configuration gives them room for a smallish bar and lounge off the main dining area, Sueksagan said, plus a function room outfitted for business and social gatherings.

Many Nashuans will recognize the address as the longtime home of Slawsby Insurance, founded and operated for decades by the late Archie Slawsby at the multi-unit building that today is part of two properties, 86-90 and 92-98 Main St., both owned by a company called 86-98 Main Street LLC.

The front entrance, which has remained the same since the Slawsby firms moved to Merrimack, will be transformed into a replica of a traditional Thai house, Sueksagan said. Designed by her nephew and his wife, the traditional peaked-roof look will also adorn each of the large booths in the dining area.

Scores of posters, knickknacks, accessories and decorative decor, most of which came from the homeland and was displayed at the East Hollis Street restaurant, will soon be going up around the new eatery.

Sueksagan has known for some time that it was very likely she’d have to move at some point in the near future, because CVS pharmacy, at the corner of East Hollis and Main streets, is getting closer to a deal that would allow the firm to acquire the restaurant building as well as next-door Charron Medical Equipment and raze them in order to build a new, larger CVS and expand its parking area.

Sueksagan, who was born in Thailand, moved to Boston in 1980 then came to Nashua in 1987 to open the Giant at 5 East Hollis St. in a building owned by Mark Levine, owner of the regional automotive supplier Towers Motor Parts.

“It’s tough to see her go,” said Ken Levine, Mark’s son and business associate. “We’ve had a relationship with her for decades. She has a great business, and we want to see her succeed in her new location.”

Mark Levine said the building has been in the Towers Motor Parts family since 1940, when Towers opened its first Nashua store there. The firm in 1986 built a larger store at 305 West Hollis St., paving the way for Sueksagan to lease the old building from Levine and open the Giant in 1987..

Since the Giant closed on Aug. 23, anxious customers have been calling almost non-stop, fearing the restaurant was closing rather than moving.

“Every day since we closed, many calls … the phone kept ringing,” Sueksagan said. “So we put on our voicemail message that we’re moving and will only be closed for a short time.”

The family-run business will keep the same hours for the time being, Sueksagan said, but tweaking them isn’t out of the question. “Being on Main Street, we might do that … there are other places around us that are open later,” she said. “It depends on the customers.”

For updates and more information about the restaurant go to www.giantofsiam.com or call 595-2222.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).