by Molly Reitter

MOORESVILLE – South of China, the nations of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam intermingle via shared borders between the Andaman and South China seas. At Chopstix Thai these nations also mesh for your dining pleasure.

Lisa Phomxayavong, who is Laotian, and Khoa Nguyen, who is Vietnamese, are the co-owners of the restaurant serving up authentic and delicious Thai food in Mooresville.

The Chopstix Thai restaurant is the second location for the family. The first is located in Statesville and was started by Phomxayavong’s parents Kykeo and Keutmee in 2002. Her parents came to the United States in the 1970s as refugees due to warfare in Laos. They eventually settled in Belmont, where Lisa Phomxayavong was born and raised. After a couple false starts in the restaurant business, the parents found success in Statesville where the community welcomed the restaurant with open arms.

“My father knows everybody,” said Lisa Phomxayavong. “He just loves being at the restaurant with the customers.”

Phomxayavong and Nguyen met at a restaurant event about two years ago. They became engaged and will be married on March 31 of this year. They both had the same dream of opening up their own restaurant. Phomxayavong had worked in the family restaurants as had Nguyen.

“My family always owned Japanese restaurants,” he said. “I can do Hibachi and cook all sorts of authentic dishes.”

However, he changed from Japanese cooking to Thai upon the first bite of steak made by the Phomxayavong family. It was Thai-rubbed steak and it was so amazing, he begged to be taught how to cook Thai food. Phomxayavong’s parents gladly obliged and he has not looked back.

Chopstix Thai is cozy with burnt sienna walls flowing into a bright yellow hallway to the bathrooms. The restaurant seats 52 people inside and 25 people out on the patio. Wooden blinds are overlaid with opaque plum drapes, letting the light softly filter into the room. Stone floors complete the modern feel of the space. But when the food is brought out, the restaurant relies on the traditional deliciousness of Thailand.

The drunken noodles are divine, as is the red curry. The chicken in a nest creatively lets the food rest in a homemade fried egg noodle bowl. The majority of sauces and dressings at the restaurant are made in-house. The coconut soup is a can’t-miss addition to your meal, the perfect taste of savory richness.

When asked why her parents started a Thai restaurant, Lisa shrugs and said “Laotian food is very similar to Thai food.”

The food can be made at any level of spice for the customer.

“There is a misconception that Thai food is very spicy,” Nguyen said. “But it is easy to make it less spicy for any customer.”

Annabelle Laws, of Mooresville, loves the food at Chopstix Thai. She frequented the original in Statesville and was very happy when one opened by her home.

“I come here at least once every two weeks,” Laws said. “The service is amazing and I just love the food.”

Phomxayavong and Nguyen have the perfect combination of excellent service and wonderful food.

“We love it here in Mooresville,” Nguyen said. “What a great place to work.”

And eat.