Bankrupt To Booming: Stranger Gives Chef A Chance

PLYMOUTH (WCCO) — Ketsana’s Thai Food Restaurants shut their doors in Richfield and St. Paul in 2007 for what the owner called personal reasons. A perfect stranger, however, decided to take her business from nearly bankrupt to booming.

The secret to a good restaurant is simple. Ketsana Subanphim said she’s learned it’s to be ready for hard work.

“I cook, I clean, I serve, I do everything,” Subanphim said.

When her restaurants closed, Subanphim worked at a Burger King to support her teenage son and make ends meet.

“I had no choice,” Subanphim said.

That’s when Darrell Sykes, a counselor at a church in Plymouth, entered. He received a phone call from Subanphim manager at Burger King asking for help.

“It was just one of those things that, if you’ve ever had your heart strings pulled on, well, she pulled my heart strings,” Sykes said.

He said a nagging feeling to do something stayed with him for weeks.

“I finally sent an e-mail out to some friends, and I just told ‘em what I was thinking, that this lady needed to get a life back, and would they help me,” Sykes said.

Without even having a bite of her food, he asked three other men to help him invest in the restaurant: a physician, an engineer and a stock broker. They ended up coming up with $130,000.

“None of us knew anything about a restaurant,” Sykes said.

Now, the new restaurant is up and running in Plymouth, located on 16605 County Road 24.

“It means so much. Just like God give me a new life,” Subanphim said.

A huge part of her customer base are customers who used to dine at her old restaurants 10 years ago. They say it’s worth it to make the trek for her signature dishes.

The investors said they plan to use any money that they make from the restaurant to help someone else, and pay it forward again.

  • Mike

    They have great Thai food! I order take out once a week and love the fresh spring rolls, yellow curry and pineapple fried rice. I moved from St Paul 6 years ago and did not realize they had closed there.

  • Stefan

    God blesses you Mr. Sykes.

  • Jeff

    No such thing as “god” you fool…get a clue, 3 guys did it and no one else….

    • youdontexist

      in my world, there’s no such thing as “Jeff”

      Get a life and come back when you’ve matured.

  • Izzy’s Goes Big and Morning Roundup | The Heavy Table - Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine and Blog

    […] story of the rebirth of Ketsana’s Thai in Plymouth, Trout Caviar writes that 90 percent of good cooking is good shopping, the march of gastropubs […]

  • Julie

    LOVE this place. Spring rolls and Curry dish #31 Hot are a must try. Ketsana is the best….I hope she’s around for a long time.

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