Happy Birthday Thai Pop!
Thai Pop is one of Rochester, Minnesota's restaurant gems. Located in what used to be Grand Rounds Brewery, Thai Pop is a beautiful tropical paradise right in the heart of Rochester, serving some of the best Thai food in the area. Thai Pop started as a pop-up that has since developed into today's full restaurant, founded by Thai owner Annie Balow and husband Ryan, who is a native to Rochester.
Annie started Thai Pop as an expression of Annie's passion for cooking and community. She has expressed just that, with the palate warming spices of Thailand, an amazing tropical atmosphere surrounding visitors with numerous live plants, and it's multiple walls of beautiful funky wallpapers. Annie has also opened her doors to the community during tornado warnings, offering free glasses of wine to those who came for shelter.
Annie's first memory of cooking came from watching her Mother prepare food for the monks at the local temple. Her mother and her aunt also cooked many meals for their local village during celebrations. Annie loved learning from them, and to see how happy it made her Mother to cook and serve others.
When Annie's mother passed, she learned all that she could from her aunt, which included her mother's favorite recipe- and her Father to this day requests this dish whenever she goes back to visit Thailand.
For Annie, cooking is a passion, a legacy, and a bridge - a way to honor her mother, her first home, and to serve the people in her current community.
Thai Pop was a referral from our local Rochester friends John and Paula. I actually enjoyed Thai Pop for the first time with the two of them while we waited for my husband to get off work so we could go on a self guided wine tour in Wisconsin.
When you walk in, you truly enter a modern tropical bohemian paradise, a place fit for instagrammable posts for locals and visitors alike. The windows surrounding let in so much light, which is great for the multitude of plants surrounding the space. The light brought in from the large windows light up the space, but somehow the structure still allows for moodier, darker intimate spaces for dates or for larger parties.
Their menu is filled with Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten Free option that cater to dietary restrictions. Appetizers, Salads, Bowls, Full Plates, Dessert, a Specialty Cocktail, as well as Mocktail list, and beer and wine options for those who prefer. And for those craving it, they do of course serve Thai tea, and Thai Coffee. They also host special tasting events that you can experience by reservation only, in their private "Ocean Room". Keep an eye out, because their new menu, as well as their Early Winter Tastings are planned for this November.
During our visit we ordered a wide variety from Thai Pop's menu, so that we could share a range of flavors that they have to offer.
Crispy Fish Sauce Pork Belly
Cauliflower Yum Pops
Thai Pop Toast
Mango Sticky Rice Cocktail -Sut Soi! (Cheers in Thai)
This week, August 29th - September 3rd, Thai Pop is celebrating it's first anniversary with amazing food and drink specials (including a seafood boil), as well as daily door prizes including giftbaskets made of locally purchased items. They also have a Grand Prize drawing at the end of the week for a $300 Thai Pop giftcard, as well as Thai Pop merchandise!
Wear a floral or tropical shirt to utilize the 9% discount on food and beverage items if you dine in today, Tuesday August 30th, and make sure to try the complimentary coconut cake made special by their Pastry Chef, Pat!
Check out Thai Pop for yourself!