Thai restaurant to open downtown as Shriver Square returns to food court

July 8, 2019

One of the most-requested cuisines in Sioux Falls is about to arrive.

A Thai restaurant will be part of what the owners of Shriver Square are envisioning as a return to multiple food establishments on the building’s main floor.

“With more people coming downtown, you need more places to eat, and downtown Sioux Falls is missing that choice,” said Tim Karels, who co-owns the building on the northeast corner of 11th and Phillips.

“Jones421 is doing it (multiple options), but a little closer to the heart of downtown needs it. People are on the move, so you can come in and get out and have some options.”

The Thai restaurant also will include Vietnamese cuisine and will be owned by the Chen family, who also owns and operates Toyko 26 at 4511 E. 26th St. and Tokyo Japanese Cuisine at 4825 S. Louise Ave.

“They’re excited to provide the first Thai restaurant in Sioux Falls,” said Alexis Konstant of Lloyd Cos., who represents the tenant.

“They have several restaurants not only in Sioux Falls but throughout the region, including Nebraska, Mitchell and a new concept in Aberdeen, so they definitely understand how to run a restaurant and how to serve their clientele, but they’re looking to bring a more unique dynamic to their portfolio with Thai and Vietnamese, which is new to them.”

The general manager for the new restaurant has been traveling throughout Asia “to better refine their menu and bring a better authenticity to downtown Sioux Falls,” Konstant said. “He spent a couple months traveling and trying out restaurants and talking with locals and getting a better understanding of not only menu items but the cookware to bring out the best flavor in the items they anticipate serving. They want to impress customers with their finishes and their menu.”

The restaurant plans to open by the end of the year and will take part of the space occupied by The Cookie Jar Eatery. It will use high-end finishes, including specialty crafted wood and hand-painted artwork, Konstant said.

The Cookie Jar is moving to a smaller space across the hall that used to be the office of Downtown Sioux Falls Inc. The downtown organization moved upstairs in the hope that more retail could come to the first floor.

“It will look similar but with some changes as far as the menu goes and how we operate,” said Glenn Koch, co-owner of The Cookie Jar.

“Our custom cookie business is really growing, so that’s the main emphasis, but we’ll still have lunch. It will just a be a different-size menu.”

Instead of different daily soups, there likely will be a soup of the week, for example. Other sandwich offerings will rotate through on different days, although pulled chicken will remain daily. The restaurant will continue to serve breakfast and for now will stay closed on Mondays.

“We’ll only have our original three tables and three booths but with a lot more seating in the corridor,” Koch said. “Our lunch business is mostly carryout.”

He and his wife, Elaine, started the business on West 10th Street downtown 17 years ago and moved to Shriver Square seven years ago.

The Cookie Jar will close briefly sometime this month, and the plan is to be in the new space by the end of the month.

There are two spaces for lease on the first floor that Karels hopes to fill with food and beverage options. A 1,000-square-foot space next to the future Thai restaurant includes a hood system.

“It’s a cool concept,” he said. “Someone could come in and do something small. We’d love to see pizza by the slice.”

There’s also about 1,250 square feet available next to The Cookie Jar’s future location that Karels said he thinks also can accommodate some kind of hood system.

The rest of the building is a mix of office space, which is full, and 33 lofts. There are a few of those available to rent.

The first floor included a food court in the 1990s and into the 2000s.

“It’s been done before, so why not bring it back?” Karels said.

The 2019 twist on the concept in other cities is a “food hall,” which DTSF president Joe Batcheller said is a welcome addition.

“I think the food court concept is perfect for Shriver Square,” he said. “It capitalizes on the national food hall trend — large food courts filled with several small vendors. It will add to the vibrancy of downtown, day and night, as a walkable destination for thousands of residents and employees.”

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Thai restaurant to open downtown as Shriver Square returns to food court

We’ve waited for it as long as you have: Sioux Falls is getting a Thai restaurant. That and more dining news in a downtown building that’s returning to a piece of its past.

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