Noi Owens said her culture always involved helping her mother cook traditional Thai dishes in the kitchen.
Years later she has brought those classic dishes to the cities of Buda and Austin, where she and co-owners Mam Hubbard and Nart Kemaleelakul opened IM Thai Cuisine.
Tucked away in Buda’s Towne & Country Market shopping center, IM Thai Cuisine opened in 2014, four years after Owens, Kemaleelakul and Hubbard opened their Sunset Valley location. Owens primarily runs that location, while Hubbard manages the Buda restaurant. Kemaleelakul runs the accounting and finance side of things.
The three first met at Thai Tara in downtown Austin and decided to open their own restaurant in 2010 when Thai Tara closed. After several years in Austin, they decided to open a location in Buda, closer to where Hubbard lives. Owens said the area’s growing population and additional rooftops has helped her business thrive.
“When we worked at [Thai Tara], I felt like we could do this. We wanted to try [running a restaurant]because we like to cook,” she said.
The restaurant’s menu includes dishes such as green curry and pad thai. Owens said the use of fresh ingredients is what separates IM Thai Cuisine from other Thai restaurants.
“At home you pick the best stuff to eat, so when we opened the restaurant, we wanted to pick the best stuff for our customers: fresh, quality food,” she said.
Owens said she and her co-owners are working with Grubhub, an online and mobile food ordering company, to provide delivery sometime in the future. For now customers can order takeout online by visiting IM Thai Cuisine’s website.
Since running two restaurants keeps her busy, Owens said she does not go home to Thailand very often, but her mother’s recipes have made it into her kitchen and to customers, keeping them full and satisfied—or “im” in Thai.
IM Thai Cuisine
1671 Main St., Ste. C, Buda
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4:30-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 4:30-9:30 p.m.; closed Sun.