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Bucktown’s Newest Restaurant is From New Orleans’s Original Thai Pioneer

Mama Thai is open

Mama Thai/Facebook

Bucktown, dominated by seafood restaurants, is now home to Mama Thai, the latest restaurant from a family largely credited with bringing Thai food to the greater New Orleans area.

Mama Thai opened two weeks ago at 200 Metairie-Hammond Highway in the space most recently home to Smoke House Grill (also known as Carmine’s pre-Veterans Blvd. location), which closed last May after a year. The menu has starters like spring rolls and shrimp shu mai, as well as moo dat diow (marinated pork jerky), traditional Thai soups, and an array of rice and noodle options like pad thai, pad see ew, and mee krob, a tamarind-sour crispy noodle dish.

[UPDATED]: “Mama” is Pannee Varnishung, who after coming to New Orleans in the 70s, opened Mai Tai on the West Bank, considered to be the first Thai restaurant in the area. The family also operated Bangkok Cuisine in Mid City for more than 25 years until Hurricane Katrina forced its closure in 2005.

Mama Thai is currently open everyday until 9 p.m., with plans to close on Sunday in the future, and does not yet have a liquor license.

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Mama Thai

200 Metairie-Hammond Highway, , LA 70005 (504) 267-0040