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This ‘startup’ Thai and Laotian restaurant is opening in Buford
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Sally’s Kitchen, a Thai and Lao restaurant, is set to open in Buford. - photo by Donnell Suggs

What started as catering for family and friends is becoming a restaurant aimed to serve something new and different to the people of Buford and Hall County.

Sally’s Kitchen Thai & Lao Food owner Toumoua Thao calls opening a brick-and-mortar location “living the dream.” 

“It’s a big dream and it’s been a long road to get to this point. Hopefully everything works out,” Thao said.

Sally’s Kitchen Thai & Lao Food

Slate to open: Early June

Where: 4955 Lanier Islands Parkway, Suite 113, Buford

More info: or

Thao says Sally’s Kitchen is a “startup,” but will use family recipes and classic cultural dishes to differentiate its menu from other Asian-inspired restaurants in the county. 

Thao’s business partner is his wife, Sally, the restaurant’s head chef and namesake.

“My wife has been cooking since she was a little girl,” Toumoua said. 

Located inside the Friendship Village shopping center next to Flow Factory Barber Shop and La Cazuela, the restaurant will be able to accommodate 40 dine-in customers. 

The Thaos are planning to have Sally’s Kitchen up and running by early June, according to Toumoua. 

“We really want to try to get it open soon,” he said. “We have been working on this site since December.”

The couple decided to open the restaurant, their first, despite there being another Thai restaurant, Golden Phoenix, which also serves Chinese food, half a mile away. Toumoua believes the Laotian dining option that Sally’s Kitchen offers is something new for the area.

“We like the area and we feel like there aren’t too many Thai and Lao restaurants anywhere in Buford and Hall County,” he said. 

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Sally’s Kitchen, a Thai and Lao restaurant, is set to open in Buford. - photo by Donnell Suggs

Though similar in many ways, Thai and Laotian food differ in how vegetables, herbs and spices are used during the cooking and marinating processes. 

Some of the dishes that will be on the menu include traditional Thai favorites like pineapple fried rice, basil fried rice, noodle dishes and curry dishes, along with drunken noodles with chicken and pad thai, a popular stir-fried rice noodle dish.

Signature Laotian menu items will range in heat levels, like the jungle fish curry. 

“It's for spice lovers and seafood lovers,” said Toumoua.

There will also be appetizers, such as egg rolls, spring rolls and fried calamari that Toumoua said will not be made to order.

“We are extremely excited to bring the realness back to restaurant dining,” he said. “For example, we roll our own eggs, and that plays a big part in the taste and freshness.”

He added that the restaurant will also shop for ingredients like vegetables from local farmers markets. 

“We want to choose our ingredients ourselves,” Toumoua added.

Pho, a Vietnamese soup dish commonly sold in Asian restaurants, will also be on the menu — but only beef pho and only on weekends, at least initially. The restaurant will have a small staff and the prep time for pho can be difficult to maintain during the week, Toumoua said.

“It takes a lot of time, so we want to make it special on the weekends.”

For more information and updates, “like” Sally’s Kitchen on Facebook.