Thai Passion, the restaurant that's been a downtown staple for nearly two decades, is set to close. In a phone call, an employee confirmed that the restaurant is closing, but declined to go into further detail.
Known for its pad Thai, Thai Passion curry and Thai iced tea (and an oddly popular spot for both celebrity sightings and first dates), the restaurant has made its home in the Sampson-Hendricks Building at 620 Congress Ave. since 1996. (It should be noted, however, that the entrance is actually on West Seventh Street. If you've never been, make a note or else you may spend 10 minutes aimlessly walking down Congress convincing yourself you're losing your mind.)
According to the restaurant's website, owner Gene Kobboon immigrated to the U.S. in 1985 and spent more than 10 years honing his culinary skills in and around Austin before opening Thai Passion's downtown location. The restaurant later opened outposts in North Austin on Research Boulevard and South Austin on IH-35 Frontage Road, though the North Austin location has since closed, too.
No word yet on a closing date, but the South Austin location will remain open. We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.