Local restaurateur replaces Thai noodles with a picnic spread

pik nik interior

Pik Nik replaced Fan Noodle Bar at 2301 W. Main St. in the Fan. (Courtesy Jay Paul)

For his newest venture, a member of a busy local restaurant family is veering away for the first time from his clan’s penchant for Thai food.

Joe Kiatsuranon this week will open Pik Nik, which replaces his former Fan Noodle Bar at 2301 W. Main St.

A play on the idea of a picnic, Kiatsuranon and chef Alex Bailey want to bring the outdoors inside, while offering patrons a wide spread of international flavors.

The décor and design from Fan Noodle Bar – which Kiatsuranon shuttered a month ago after four years in business – has been shredded and transformed to look like an outdoor park, with picnic tables, soft overhead lighting and natural wood flanking the walls.

“This is the first time that I’m not doing a Thai concept,” Kiatsuranon said. “We wanted to do something different and we think this is the right fit.”

Through a menu of small plate items, Bailey said, the idea behind the dishes is to give diners a wide range of options.

“We want them to come and take their pick from the menu, as if they are on a picnic,” Bailey said. “We want them to come in and enjoy their time here … that comes from having a choice of several options on our menu.”

joe kiatsuranon

Joe Kiatsuranon, left, co-owns several Thai restaurants in the area. (BizSense file photo)

The menu includes vegetarian and meat options, such as vegetable Pakora – garbanzo beans, roasted corn, charred cauliflower and butternut squash – as well as halibut ceviche on pineapple and spiced banana chips.

“We want the menu to take people on an international excursion in the park,” Bailey said.

Pik Nik is targeting an Oct. 18 opening, Kiatsuranon said. It will hold a soft opening Oct. 16-17 for dinner service only.

Much of the former Fan Noodle Bar staff has merged with My Noodle & Bar at 1600 Monument Ave., owned by Kiatsuranon’s brother, Sonny.

The duo, along with their mother Sukanya Palaart, also owns YaYa’s Cookbook, another Thai restaurant in Short Pump. The family also owns Mom’s Siam in Carytown and Mom’s Siam 2 in Shockoe Bottom. Joe is also a co-owner of Sabai, near the corner of Broad and Boulevard.

Pik Nik has been about four months in the making, Joe said.

“I started making the tables and the bar stools for this place because I had an idea of what I wanted this location to become,” said Joe, who has crafted much of the restaurant’s furniture from his garage.

Pik Nik will seat 46 people in about 1,400 square feet.

If granted city approval, Joe said, the restaurant plans add a garage door and overhead awning to cover the patio fronting West Main Street.

“That’s going to happen over time,” he said. “Right now the focus is to get open.”

Pik Nik’s drink menu will include seasonal cocktails, many named after local parks. The Brown’s Island, for example, is made with bourbon infused with black peppercorn, rosemary, clove, anise, cinnamon, orange zest and honey, barrel-aged with a peach lemon hibiscus tea.

Pik Nik hours are set for 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Sunday for dine-in and takeout.

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