Through a tip from the reader, we learned that the long-standing Thai restaurant Kanomwan at 7361 Telephone closed “until further notice” on September 7th. The restaurant was established in the mid-1980s by Darawan Charoenrat, died in 2010 and deserved affection nickname “Thai Nazi”, inspired by the Nazi character of Seinfeld’s soup. Kanomwan resided in two locations before moving to his last on Telephone Road in 2007.
His gruff demeanor concealed a benevolent demeanor – which one could sometimes in sight. After his death, his family continued to run the restaurant, faithfully executing its recipes. Kanomwan was known for not tempering traditionally fiery dishes for the uninitiated and for his exemplary Tom Kha Gai with fragrant galangal, lemongrass and makrut lime leaves.
While Houston’s notable restaurants have proliferated on the east side in recent years, for most of its existence Kanomwan was a notable neighborhood that attracted not only nearby residents but also downtown workers and even food reviews who would make regular pilgrimages. In his list of favorite BYOB restaurants, wine columnist at the Houston Chronicle Dale robertson said Kanomwan’s value was “off the charts”.
The the restaurant’s Facebook page reveals he’s been struggling since midsummer – not necessarily from lack of activity. As of August 7, the restaurant said it was understaffed to the point that it could not meet its regular hours.
In mid-June, air conditioning malfunctions closed the restaurant for two days and there was another staff issue.
All of this followed 2020, the toughest year in modern history for restaurants. Like so many others, Kanomwan switched to take-out only in March of that year, and was only able to resume catering service in May.
Kanomwan left a lasting mark on the memories and taste buds of his fans. On its Facebook page, the restaurant’s subscribers mourn what they have lost, some of whom know the menu so well that they have cited their favorite dishes by number, not by name. “I can’t live without S1 [and] A4 in my life, ”said one of them. “Updates? S1 and H6 keep calling my name,” another wrote. Another customer posted: “Please let your customers know how we can help you. There is a whole segment of the population. from Houston who cannot live without your food!
Alas, it looks like we will do without Kanomwan. According to readers, the restaurant is completely emptied and there is no evidence of a renovation or the arrival of a new location. We have messaged the restaurant and will update this article if we receive any additional information.