That gastronomic goof Munch recently reviewed a new Thai place on the South Side, but we here at The Forks would be remiss not to give at least brief mention to the new digs of an older Thai favorite in that same neighborhood.
The cheekily-named Thai Me Up (slogan: "You’re bound to like it"), which brought Southeast Asian cuisine to the neighborhood in 2002, has moved from its colorfully cute-but-cramped storefront on the 1900 block of East Carson Street to a larger space in, of all things, a longtime former auto-glass shop a few blocks southeast at 118 S. 23rd St.
It is an impressive transformation, turning what was basically a garage into an inviting spot with some interesting design flourishes.
A weathered wood paneling on the walls gives a cozy vibe, as does the warming deep pink neon sign and burnt orange wallpaper. Long benches that appear to be old church pews are used for some seating. Vintage Thai magazine ads for products such as Pepsi and Johnnie Walker are framed on the walls. An antique phone, cash register and gumball machine sit on one counter, while a bookshelf hold a number of other antique knick-knacks. Working gas lamps adorn the front of the building, and the garage doors open to 23rd Street, providing an al fresco option on nice days.
The menu is the same reliably good food that the chef and owner Noi has been serving up for more than a decade -- spicy basil mung bean noodles, crab Rangoon, larb chicken salad, Thai-style five-spice beef noodles, and my favorite, at right, the Sriracha fried rice, among others.
Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Thai Me Up remains BYOB, and has added a new noon to 3 p.m. Sunday brunch.
Dan Gigler photos