Where Venice resident Paul Udomprasertdee grew up in Bangkok, Thailand, the Baiyoke Tower used to be the tallest building in the city.

Though that’s not the case anymore, it obviously made quite an impact on young Paul, because when he opened his restaurant in Venice in the summer of 2017, he named it after the building.

He said he first moved to the United States in 2002.

“I was the head chef for Jasmine Thai and Sushi in Fort Lauderdale for 13 years,” Paul said. “Then in 2016, I opened my own restaurant there. When my partner and I parted ways, I decided to move here to Venice.”

Paul and his wife have a 4-year-old daughter, and they felt it was just too crowded over on the East coast for their young family. They were looking for a calmer, quieter place to raise their child, and since a distant cousin of Paul’s lived in Venice, they came over to visit him.

After four or five days, they knew they had found their new home.Plus, it just so happened that the cousin owned a Thai restaurant in town and was trying to sell it so he and his family could move back to Thailand.

On July 10, 2017, Paul opened the restaurant as his own and began changing around a couple of things.

“Before, this restaurant sold only Thai food, but when I bought it, I added a sushi bar and expanded the Thai menu,” he said. “I’m actually getting ready to make a new menu, which will have even more Thai items.”

Some people have a misconception that all Thai food is spicy. You can certainly order it that way, if you want, but that style of cuisine is more known for being flavorful and healthy, especially when cooked with all fresh ingredients, as it is at Baiyoke.

The restaurant’s Japanese/Thai menu is unique, in that they really specialize in both. Paul says that the difference in the taste of the food he serves begins with the small quantities of supplies he brings in a few times a week.

“We don’t buy a lot at one time, because we want to buy everything fresh,” he said. “We also cut everything fresh every day.”

Baiyoke serves both lunch and dinner and has a popular specials menu that changes periodically. This week, there are several sushi rolls on the menu, as well as one of Paul’s most ordered entrees — a seafood combo cooked in a garlic and mushroom white wine sauce.

The Happy Hour menu at Baiyoke Thai & Sushi is not a typical one. In addition to beer, wine and sake, patrons can also enjoy incredibly low prices on items like sushi, fried calamari, edamame and much more.

Though dinner entrees can be ordered at any time, the lunch specials at the restaurant are especially popular. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., there are many lunch combinations to choose from, featuring both sushi and Thai cuisine, as well as a mixture of both.

Paul says that he and his wife couldn’t be happier to now call Venice home.

“It’s a nice city with really nice people,” he said. “They know that we’re a family-owned business and that we make everything from scratch here. Our customers love the place.”

Baiyoke Thai & Sushi is located at 1829 South Tamiami Trail, in Venice. It’s open Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m. Weekend hours are Friday and Saturday, from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information, or to place an order for pick-up and catering, visit the website at http://www.baiyokethaisushi.com or call 941-408-8141.

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