On Facebook and Instagram Thursday evening, Donny Sirisavath posted that Khao Noodle Shop will, yet again, temporarily close in light of [waves arms] everything. The last day of service will be this Saturday, January 9.
The chef-owner said in the social media post that 2020 brought “tiring times,” especially after “adapting and changing constantly” to survive. “It gave us an abundance of anxiety, grief, sadness, hopeless moments, and lot of sleepless nights,” continued Sirisavath. In the face of such trials, Sirisavath and his team last year launched an online mini mart, hosted pop-ups, streamlined takeout operations, sold T-shirts that supported local businesses, and the list goes on.
Still, Khao isn’t optimized for takeout, nor was that ever Sirisavath’s vision. So it will shutter temporarily after Saturday for two weeks, during which time Sirisavath will do what he had to do before: evaluate the future of Khao Noodle Shop.
“It’s not a goodbye yet, it’s a temporary give each other space,” he wrote, assuring us that he wasn’t breaking up with the Dallas food scene just yet. “Give us time apart to see if this is the right place for us, or to determine if we have to move on.” Much like relationships that go on hiatus, this, too, causes a catch in the throat—we won’t know for two weeks whether it’s over over.
Before we (I) get ahead of ourselves, let’s clutch onto the word “temporary” here. Sirisavath also notes a “new concept that will be taking over for.” (More details to come when we have them.)
This isn’t the first self-imposed closure for the Old East Dallas restaurant. Last year, in April, the spread of COVID-19 intensely affected the way a cozy, small-plate noodle shop operated.
What D dining critic Eve Hill-Agnus said back then when SideDish reported the news, bears repeating:
“As I look around at the dining landscape, it’s clear that we’re entering a phase in which small businesses—restaurants in this case—are being forced to assess what is feasible in their hastily and often ingeniously assembled responses to the dining shutdown. What they can manage, weighing it against the health of their staff, often with varying realities and pressures relative to leases and rents. Others, too, like Sirisavath, are running an exceedingly tight ship, with a small crew and tips going to the team or split among furloughed staff. And there is the very real specter of exhaustion when one is waging what feels like a daily battle.”
As for right now, the pandemic is still very much here and, with record-breaking COVID cases and hospitalization rates, worse than before. The problems of 2020 didn’t end at the stroke of midnight on January 1. Restaurants are still struggling, and the battles aren’t over yet.