Local Love: Thip Athakhanh
We sat down for a Q&A with Thip Athakhanh, owner of Snackboxe Bistro, a Lao Street Food restaurant in Duluth in honor of AAPI month. They are more than just sticky rice, you will experience a casual, relaxed atmosphere serving cuisine from Southeast Asia that is full of savory flavors and spices. Thip, alongside her husband, has years of experience in other fields that helped them launch Snackboxe and make it successful today. Her expertise in sourcing, negotiating, and streamlining processes allows Snackboxe to offer high-quality ingredients while keeping costs competitive. She creates her own menu and recipes, consistently brainstorming innovative ideas to marry old-school traditions with the latest food trends.
Q: How did the businesses get started?
A: "The restaurant idea came into fruition after my honeymoon trip to Laos in 2016. Coincidentally, the company I worked for closed its doors which led to my husband and I taking a leap of faith to pursue our dream of introducing Lao flavors to a wider audience."
Q: What are some challenges the restaurant faces?
A: "For us, staffing is a challenge. Lao cuisine is very unique and labor intensive. We have streamlined our processes to be efficient. However, there are certain areas where we do not compromise shortcuts. With that being said, finding kitchen help that truly understands the art of Lao cooking is limited. But when we do come across the right people, we value and cherish them."
Q: What is one menu item a first timer need to try?
A: "Definitely try any of our noodle soups and house-made beef jerky with sticky rice. Can’t go wrong!"
Q: What goals do you have for Snackboxe?
A: "To remain consistent and be around for another decade so that we may continue to offer comfort Lao food to our family, friends and the community we love. We do not have any plans to expand Snackboxe Bistro in the future. We are happy to own 2 locations in Doraville and Duluth. We are focusing on new projects and just recently launched Pakse Cafe, a modern Lao brunch concept. We also created Musubee’s which is a pop-up shop offering spam musubi, onigiris, sando and more. We are excited about growing both concepts and look forward to sharing our journey via Instagram @paksecafeatlanta @musubee_atl. "
Explore Gwinnett continues to make an effort to promote local minority-owned, LGBTQ, and women-owned businesses. To support this initiative, we are writing blogs focusing on owners and telling their stories. Click here to read more Local Love stories.