South Austin favorite Thai Fresh expands empire with new neighborhood sweets shop
In the fall, one of Austin’s best-kept culinary secrets will be revealed. Jam Sanitchat and Bruce Barnes, owners of beloved South Austin eatery Thai Fresh, are headed east to open Gati, a new shop devoted to vegan ice cream.
“We feel that we have a very good product,” Sanitchat told CultureMap. “We have been making it for eight years and have been selling it here at Thai Fresh. The ice cream has just been hiding under our yummy Thai food. I want to give it its own name and spot.”
The new store, located at 1512 Holly St. in the former home of taqueria Porfirio’s, will offer several varieties of ice cream, including Thai basil, peach, mango, golden milk, lavender, mint, and banana. All the flavors are made with a base of coconut milk (the Thai word "gati" translates to coconut milk), using fresh ingredients sourced from local farms and other vendors. “Our ice cream is a chance for us to use ingredients that are true to Thai food culture and some that are true to Texas,” said Sanitchat.
The scoops can be ordered alone or as part of gluten-free cakes, cones, or sandwiches. The Gati Facebook page has been teasing some of the possible menu items, including an Insta-worthy black waffle cone made with coconut ash. Gati will also offer itsversion of a popular Thai street food that includes a hot dog bun stuffed with sticky rice and pastel scoops of ice cream, then topped with a sprinkling of peanuts.
In addition to the sweets, Sanitchat said there will be a seasonal food menu of about 15 items. The offerings will mostly be plant-based, but a few will include meat. Like the ice cream, the savory items will be gluten-free. Sanichat is still developing the menu but has been posting contenders like a tofu bowl with vegetables and garlic butter shrimp with dinosaur kale.
The restaurant will also include a full espresso bar (coconut milk ice cream affogatos, anyone?) and Sanitchat plans to make seasonal sodas in-house.
Although the exact date for the opening has not been set, diners can get a sneak peek at Thai Fresh, which will be previewing some of the offerings until Gati opens.