Maricopa lost a dining option last week when Chili’s pulled out of its planned Maricopa store, but the city has another new eatery coming soon.
Thai Chili 2 Go, a Gilbert-based “fast-fine” restaurant with 14 Valley locations, will be opening in Sonoran Creek next to Dutch Bros. in mid-April to early May, the restaurant’s founder and CEO Akshat Sethi said.
The location in Sonoran Creek was a major factor in choosing Maricopa.
“The anchor of Sprouts was great for us,” Sethi said. “We have had great success with them as an anchor at other locations. We like the visibility right on street. That makes it easy for guests to approach us and gives us excellent overall approachability and accessibility.”
It was the Maricopa market more than the location that attracted Sethi.
“Maricopa is a diverse, creative community that is definitely food deprived, especially for the way we will be doing things,” Sethi said. “We are ‘fast fine. We have a scratch kitchen and we cook everything to order. There are no heat lamps and no microwaves in our restaurants.”
Sethi said Thai Chili 2 Go will bring something different to Maricopa, foremost being a healthier option to meet the demands of local diners.
“We think Maricopa is an ideal market for our concept,” he said.
The Maricopa shop is part of an expansion push for the company. It has a store in progress in Cave Creek and is eyeing Nevada, New Mexico and Utah for potential locations.
Sethi has lofty goals for the Maricopa restaurant, which will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. He said he expects it to do a sales volume of $2 million per year, or about 167,000 per month.
He expects to hire 15 to 20 employees, 12 to 15 of whom will be full time.
He added that the Maricopa store will have more seating than his other because it is the first store in this market. His other stores are more oriented toward take-out. This shop also will have a larger patio dining area than his others.
Founded in 2015, Thai Chili 2 Go is headquartered in Gilbert.
According to its website, Thai Chili 2 Go provides, “an authentic, fast and affordable Thai experience for our guests. Thai Chili 2 Go has exploded in popularity in Arizona to become not just the top Thai food restaurant chain, but also one of the most recognizable restaurant brands in the Valley.”
All locations are corporate-owned and operated, but Sethi is exploring the market to gauge interest in potential franchisees.
Menu favorites include authentic Thai dumplings, veggie spring rolls, gai tod (chicken bites) and a variety of curries, rice and noodles.