Han Lao, the Lao and Thai restaurant at 1250 Strassner Drive in Brentwood, has permanently closed.
Sauce first reported the news.
Owner Thom Chantharasy tells Off the Menu the restaurant has been closed since St. Louis County temporarily shut down indoor dining in November. He was already struggling, he says, and saw no point in trying to keep struggling.
Chantharasy says he briefly considered reopening in January, when the county allowed dine-in service to resume, but he decided it would not work.
Han Lao’s location also presented a problem. The restaurant was part of a small retail strip set perpendicular to the nearby thoroughfare, South Hanley Road.
Han Lao needs better frontage, Chantharasy says, and parking in the garage adjacent to the strip was also fraught.
“The majority of my clientele just did not like that garage parking,” he says, “and I've actually had a couple customers get towed.”
Chantharasy opened Han Lao in 2018 to feature the cuisine of Laos, which he left as a refugee with his family when he was 4 years old.
He does see a future for the restaurant and is currently scouting for a new location.
“But I don't want to rush into it just because I don't want to get into the same mess six months from now,” he says.
Chantharasy’s Japanese restaurant Robata is open for drive-thru service at 7260 Manchester Road in Maplewood. He plans to expand Robata’s patio for service this spring and summer.