When Sab-E-Lee opened in 2008 in a tiny space on Ulric Street, it was a revelation, introducing the people of San Diegan to the wonders of authentic and spicy Thai cuisine in the northeast Isaan region. . By 2015, the restaurant had outgrown its footprint and moved to a larger location nearby; now called The Original Sab-E-Lee, it also has an outpost in Rancho Penasquitos.
His old restaurant was later renamed Thai Papaya by Sab-E-Lee, and has achieved the same success by offering its own range of dishes, from fiery salads to noodle soups. Thai Papaya has remained closed for most of the pandemic and, much to the dismay of its many fans, has now closed permanently, at least in this space. The Mmm-yoso blog reports that it is being replaced by a sushi bar.
There is a small ray of hope for his return, as owner Don Runowski told Eater he could reopen Thai Papaya in another location, although like many restaurants he says he’s struggling to hire enough. of staff. In the meantime, a few select Thai Papaya dishes are now being served at The Original Sab-E-Lee’s Linda Vista Restaurant, including his popular khao soi, a curry and coconut noodle soup. Runowski says they could add even more specialty items to the standing menu if there is enough demand from customers.