Thai food is delicious, but the best part is the restaurant names it inspires; no other cuisine lends itself so well to wordplay. Two weeks ago I ranked all the punny restaurant names in Washington, of which three are Thai joints (Thaiphoon, Thai Tanic, Beau Thai). It got me thinking: if a pun as incongruous as Thai Tanic can pass as a restaurant name, what else could?
While it’s unlikely you’re ever going to see a Thai place called something as awesome as Life’s a Bitch And Then You Thai, or The Thai is Falling, or Thai Like a Fox, or Thairannosaurus Rex, there are plenty of other good phrases that could work. I could totally see a Thai of the Beholder, a Me, Myself, and Thai, or a Win Lose or Thai.
And while Thai food doesn’t include much cheese, the names can certainly be cheesy. I want to eat spicy eggplant at a Thai One On, an I Believe I Can Thai, a The Thai Has Turned, or a Thais R Us. I want to order Ka Pow at Eye of the Thaiger, Thai the Knot, God Almighthai, or Thai Mai Shoo. I want to feel like royalty at Thai Society (or High Societhai). I want to buck convention at An-Thai Establishment. I want to feel patriotic at Purple Mountains Majesthai. And I want to try the seafood at Thai Aye, Captain. You could also go a little more Thai Brow with Thaiambic Pentameter.
Sadly, no one is going to name their restaurant That Thaime of the Month, for obvious reasons, and I bet Thai Know, Right? is too colloquial.
Phrases aren’t for everyone. Maybe you’re looking for a more seamless, single-word Thai pun. Well you’re in luck because there are myriad opporthunithais. I’d eat at Communithai, Tranquilithai, Curiosithai, Generosithai, Immortalithai, Popularithai, Qualithai, Ingenuithai, Serendipithai, Serenithai, Authenticithai, and Celebrithai. I’d go to Beauthaiful, Thailarious, Thaiconography, Thaiconoclast, Thaidealism, Thaideology, Thaidyllic, Thaironic, Thaimagination, and Thaicoon too.
Some Thai restaurant names are especially germane to Washington. You could open Consthaitution in DC and have Supreme Court justice menu specials like Clarence Thaimas, Sonia Sothaimayor, Anthainin Scalia, and Anthainy Kennedy. Or you could go the presidential route with Dwight D. Thaisenhower, William Howard Thaift, and John Thailer. Majorithai Rule would be a good one too.
DC already has a Thaiphoon, but there are plenty of other severe weather Thai puns available. There’s Thaidal Wave, Thai of the Storm, Thairential Downpour, Thai Water Mark, and High Thaide. Personally I’d rather avoid such stormy dining and stay Thai and Dry.
We have gay bars, so why not gay Thai restaurants? It could be called Equalithai or maybe Homosexualithai (though Thaisexuals are certainly welcome). The men’s room door would say Masculinithai and the women’s Femininithai.
You could open Open Give it the Old College Thai on a campus and cater to fraternathais and sororithais. They’d love that in the Thaivy League. You could also play on college football with Roll Thaide in Tuscaloosa, Manthai Te’o in South Bend, Geaux Thaigers in Baton Rouge, Thai Detmer in Provo, Fightin’ Thailini in Champagne, or Thai Streets in Ann Arbor. Thai Formation works anywhere football is played.
In DC The Grill from Ipanema and The Last Tangle in Washington play on popular films. Thai places could do the same with American Thai, Miss Congenialithai, Minorithai Report, Life of Thai, Thai Story, and Thai, Robot. Then there’s my personal favorite movie-inspired Thai restaurant: Way Harsh, Thai. Open that in The Valley.
Then there are the Thai places that are Thailor Made for specific locales. You could open a punny Thai restaurant in states like Thaiowa, Thainnessee, Thaidaho, and Kenthaiky. You can get city specific with Cincinnathai, Thaicago, San Anthainio, Balthaimore, Thaiami, Wichithai, Corpus Christhai, and Thailahassee. Oh, and if if your family-owned Thai restaurant in Tyson’s Corner isn’t called Thai Son’s Corner, you’re doing it wrong.
But why stop in America? Thai cuisine has proliferated across the globe. I’d like to see restaurants called Trinidad & Thaibago, Thaijikistan, Argenthaina, Djibouthai, Thaigeria, East Thaimore, Azerthaijan, Thairan, Thairaq, and Vathaican City. And hey, why not Thairie in Jamaica?
East Asia is fertile ground for punny Thai places too. You’ve got Shangthai, Thaikyo, and Thaiwan. Or if you’re in Beijing, Thaianamen Square.
That’s 115 of em right there, but this list is hardly comprehensive. So, what else ya got? It can be hard to think of good puns, but as they say, If At First You Don’t Succeed, Thai Thai Again.