Did you know that America’s first Thai restaurant was in Colorado?


Colorado is known for inventing the cheeseburger and perfecting the art of the green chili, but it’s also famous for another type of cuisine: Thai cuisine.

That’s right – the introduction of Thai cuisine to America happened right here in the Centennial State. Read on to find out more.

America’s first Thai restaurant has opened in Denver

According at CPR NewsLily Chittivej moved from Thailand to Denver and opened the country’s first Thai restaurant in the early 1960s.

In a quote from his book, Lily’s cookbookpublished by CPR News, Chittivej said she was inspired to move to the United States for her children.

“I want my children to have a good education in a civilized country,” she said. “There’s no room for all smart students in Thailand…here kids have a chance.”

She was working in the pharmaceutical industry and her husband as a doctor when she decided to open a Thai restaurant in the Mile High City. A Denver Post article published by Food Timeline notes Chittivej’s friends told her that a Thai place wouldn’t work in Denver, stating “Americans don’t like spicy food”.

Luckily she didn’t listen and started Chada Thai — America’s first Thai restaurant.

How You Can Try Chada Thai Today

Our community now notes this Chada Thai is under new ownership in a new location at 2005 E 17th Avenue.

The new Chada Thai at 2005 E 17th Avenue in Denver. Courtesy of Instant Street View.

The new Chada Thai at 2005 E 17th Avenue in Denver. Courtesy of Instant Street View.

However, CPR News shared a crab curry noodle recipe from the original. Lily’s cookbook. Chittivej wrote that customers liked the dish “because of its curry taste”. Find it here.


Chada Thai isn’t the only restaurant you have to try in Colorado. Check out 26 fan-favorite restaurants in Fort Collins in the gallery below.

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Whether you have in-laws in town or just need a new idea for a night out, these 26 Fort Collins-area restaurants are sure to impress. Read on to see which restaurants northern Colorado residents recommend.

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