Danville city officials joined other area leaders and citizens Thursday morning in welcoming Moon River Thai Bistro as the first addition since the creation of the tourism zone that includes the River District and designated areas along North Main Street.
The restaurant is located at 629 North Main St. and is part of the Historic North Theatre complex.
“This zone was created to provide incentives to eligible businesses that would attract visitors, create new employment opportunities, promote educational opportunities and increase travel-related opportunities,” Mayor Sherman Saunders said at the ceremony. “Today, I am pleased to help cut the ribbon for the very first announcement for this new zone, Moon River Thai.”
As part of the Historic North Theatre complex, Saunders said area residents and visitors could now enjoy both entertainment and fine dining on North Main Hill.
“We are very enthusiastic about the number of people this dynamic combination of culinary and musical and theatrical arts will attract to this city, as well as future development this project will spur in the surrounding community,” Saunders said.
Dan Doby, a business consultant and manager at the restaurant, and Wayne Alan, owner of the theater complex, talked about the project as a catalyst for future redevelopment.
Doby said the restaurant is up and running and doing well, but “this is just the tip of the iceberg.” “We are going to providing tremendous entertainment,” Doby said. “Wayne and I have some great ideas. We are will make this a destination for Virginia we promise you.”
Alan said the theater, which he re-opened 22 months ago, is growing audience. “We are building on our shows,” Alan said. “Now that we are able to combine eating with special events, we are going work in conjunction to create a dining and entertainment venue.”
Alan also talked about his dream to use the tourism zone designation to turn the North Main Hill area into an arts district with shops and galleries. “As the theater brings in tour buses to see a show and to dine, we want these tourists to be able to visit other businesses here, downtown and around Danville. … We are thrilled about this. We hope to make this a whole revitalized area.”
The restaurant opened June 20. The menu features authentic Thai food, mixed with Asian fusion dishes and European and New Orleans-influenced recipes.
Lunch service begins at 11:30 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m., Monday-Friday. Dinner service is offered nightly, beginning at 5 p.m. and continuing until 9:30 p.m. Dinner prices range from $10 to $30. Lunch prices are lower. Seating is provided for 70 people.
The owner is Parichat Mongkhonkham, who operates several Thai restaurants in the region. The restaurant is named for the song “Moon River,” which is the favorite song of Mongkhonkham’s mother.
Mongkhonkham received a $50,000 grant from the Danville Office of Economic Development to assist with opening the restaurant. A survey conducted by the city department showed strong demand for a Thai restaurant in Danville.