the state

– of prasert. by vastate
Friday, 14 November 2008, 19:25
Filed under: -of eats, -of jhumphrey, -of localism

you all know prasert.


photo from eightyone magazine

you’ve seen him before.  probably even talked to him as he led you to your seat or put a steaming plate of pad thai tofu in front of your face.

prasert saesow is manager of taste of thai and he has big ideas for this town.  lots of them.

he dreams of bakeries. (remember when i was dreaming too?).

kathleen temple sat down with her friend prasert on monday.  to catch up, but also to interview this local for the state.  we wanted to know what prasert thought harrisonburg needs.  this is what she wrote about their conversation:

Bakery-  the point of our conversation when he REALLy lit up.  As if he isn’t charming and animated all the time.  He would love Harrisonburg to have a European-style bakery. Cappucinos being made, filling the bakery with that aroma…..  20 to 30 luscious desserts in the display—  a huge wedding cake displayed in the front window.  Pastries not too sweet but melt-in-your mouth delicious and tender.

prasert said:

“I LOVE baking” and “it’s the JOY of baking”

YES!  says the state.  great idea!

a bakery, however, isn’t first on prasert’s to-do list.  he’s busy working on this:

spanky's; image by Pete Marovich of the DNR

photo from dnr

that’s the old spanky’s.  (and aren’t well all glad it’s gone, after hearing the stories…)

soon to be a new harrisonburg restaurant.  and prasert will be the executive chef.  you can read more about this project in the above DNR article.  here’s what prasert had to say to kathleen about the new restaurant:

Several new restaurants will be opening in or near the downtown area next year.  But does Prasert feel nervous about the competition?  “No, not at all!  Not at all.  Each will be very different,” says Prasert.  He sees great promise in the fact that there are quite a number of good restaurants in the central area of Harrisonburg- they combine to attract not only Harrisonburg residents but others from other parts of the Shenandoah Valley as well.  He feels optimistic that Harrisonburg is becoming an ever more compelling magnet, drawing people who enjoy the comfort and ease of a small city spiced with an impressive variety of cultural influences.

the new restaurant will feature new everything.  it’s not just a “new taste of thai.”  it will have new food, new decor, and a new atmosphere – all geared toward the young professional crowd.  (can you say, “rosetta stone”?)

apparently, the name of the new restaurant will be revealed soon…maybe the state will be privy sooner rather than later?


we are as excited as the next person about a new prasert-run eatery.  (and will be lining up out front asap) but we were most interested in what prasert though was needed here in our fair town.


his focus is on building quality commerce.  he sees the need and potential for high-end shopping in the area.  being partial, he is particularly interested in some fancy cooking supply shops.  he told kathleen:

It is regrettable that H’burg folk should have drive distances, to face the traffic and hassles of D.C. or Richmond to shop for some of the things we most enjoy.  Prasert is glad that Harrisonburg is small, but would like to see more variety and diversity in our commercial and cultural life here.


we are so happy to be friends with prasert.  and to get to know him a bit better.  especially if he plans on opening that bakery…

it is the ideas of those often-seen, but often-unheard, people that provide the best chance for a little town like ours to thrive.  so the state is determined to hear them out…prasert is just the first in a series of interviews between townies. we like the idea of valley people sitting down to talk together about their ideas for this place.

so, thanks prasert!  and thanks, kathleen!


photo by kathleen temple

here are some of kathleen’s final thoughts on our own, wonderfully talented, prasert saesow:

Prasert knows the beauty of good food and the experience of community it can create.

He has been serving luscious food to delighted diners for decades.  Imagine Prasert, barely a few years old, helping to serve savory treats to guests in the family home in Thailand: he is carrying small trays, inviting guests to partake of the delicious food his mother prepared.  His enthusiasm for wonderful, fresh food is infectious; his passion for food and for presentation of beautiful, flavorful meals to guests has been growing for all these years .


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[…] a continuation of our “what does harrisonburg need?” townie-to-townie series.  we’ve zero’d in on employees and management of both the blue nile and the little […]

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[…] Learn more about Taste of Thai, Prasert, and more at “the state” a local blog that plans to interview many restaurant owners to provide an inside look at dining in Harrisonburg. […]

Comment by Prasert, Taste of Thai, and a new downtown restaurant

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