His curry house survived the tsunami, SARS, bird flu, antigovernment riots, airport shutdowns, floods and two coups. Thanakorn Baingan wasn’t going to let Covid-19 be Mr. Bird Pattaya’s downfall.
Thanakorn has run Mr. Bird on the Thepprasit Road side of Soi Khopai for 23 years. Thailand has faced a seemingly never-ending series of crises over that span, but he admits the coronavirus pandemic has been his biggest challenge.
The restaurant’s income is down about 50 percent from pre-Covid times, as half of its customers were foreign tourists or hotel employees. But Thanakorn smartly cut his expenses by half as well, allowing his eatery to remain open and his workers employed.
Notably, Thanakorn kept meal prices and portions the same. He simply cut his menu from 80 dishes to 50 to save on food costs.
In addition, Thanakorn donates leftover food each day to the needy at local temples and organizes free-food giveaways to help those struggling during the pandemic.
Expenses previously ran about 20,000 baht a day. That has now been cut in half. But meals still start at just 30 baht.
The slimmer menu includes customer favorites like fried dory fish with curry paste, stir-fried pork with shrimp paste, spicy northern Thai pork and tomato, deep-fried catfish with curry paste, masaman curry and stir-fried chicken with curry paste.
Mr. Bird Pattaya is open Tuesday-Sunday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.