LOTUS OF SIAM PROVES WORTH THE WAIT

Lotus of Siam may have a new address, but at least one thing hasn’t changed: It remains one of the toughest tables in town, with walk-in wait times often stretching to an hour or more.

That’s the news from Penny Chutima, who runs the restaurant at 620 E. Flamingo Road, which opened Dec. 11, and is about half the size of the original location.

“It’s been pretty hectic,” she said, “but it’s been fun.”

Her parents, Bill and Saipin Chutima, operated Lotus of Siam in the Commercial Center on West Sahara Avenue for 19 years, until a September rainstorm collapsed the roof.

The Chutimas plan to reopen that location when repairs are complete (presumably in February), but in the meantime they launched the Flamingo Road spot.

“I’m kind of buying some rights from my mom so I can extend the legacy of what she started,” Penny said.

The launch hasn’t been without snags, including the temporary suspension of the reservation system, which since has been reactivated. But while the new Lotus will have a full bar (the original serves only beer and wine), she said in early January that the license has yet to arrive and the date is uncertain.

Lotus has been a cult favorite, drawing customers from all over the world for waits that have sometimes approached 2½ hours.

Penny said she thinks the popularity stemmed from her parents’ educational approach.

“They weren’t like other Thai restaurants, where you could order whatever you want,” she said. “We actually want you to learn about our culture.”

Photography courtesy of Rachel Aston

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