After introducing New York City’s first fast casual Thai dining concept three years ago, Kati Shop recently expanded with a new location in Herald Square. Inspired by Thailand’s street food culture, the heart of the menu is centered on Khao Kaeng (curry over rice) and Kanom Jeen (a rice vermicelli noodle curry dish usually served with a bounty of vegetables on the side). Every menu item is tailored to customers’ preferences, including a make-your-own curry platter featuring flavorful Thai curries paired with quality proteins, rice, and fresh vegetables.
Founded by three friends — Witchaporn Treenawong, Wannarat Jarernpan, and Pichan Kietsrichart — who share decades of experience in the restaurant business and a passion for bringing authentic Thai curries to NYC, the original Kati Shop was first launched in August 2018 in Midtown at East 55th Street and Lexington Avenue. The three co-founders shared a common goal of introducing New Yorkers to the “Khao Kaeng'' concept (curry over rice), which is a trademark of everyday dining culture in Thailand. The health-focused side of the menu specifically comes from one of the co-founders, Mr. Kietsrichart, who is a marathon runner that found it difficult to find dining options that fit his diet.
“We want to give our customers a choice, a healthy choice, no matter their dietary needs. It’s important to us to offer a balanced diet that’s not restrictive and one that also doesn’t sacrifice the flavor everyone loves about Thai food,” says Mr. Kietsrichart.
“There’s a reason our kitchen is designed to be very open. We are transparent about our final product, from how everything is cooked to the ingredients we use every day,” adds Mr. Treenawong. All Kati Shop food is prepared in a 100 percent nut-free kitchen, and the menu offers 100 percent gluten-free items, and vegan friendly options.
The make-your-own-curry platter at Kati Shop starts with choosing a nutritious base: Riceberry, Jasmine rice, or shredded cabbage (perfect for those who want to avoid carbs). It’s followed by a choice of healthy premium quality proteins: Grilled Salmon, Coriander Steak (Sirloin, grass-fed), Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, or Baked Sesame Tofu (non-GMO and made in the U.S.). Finally, customers can pick a curry: Massaman curry, Panang curry, Green curry, and Kati Signature curry (Southern Thai style curry with lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, and green chili), and the two sides of scrumptious greens like Somtum slaw, Larb mushroom, and Sriracha Zucchini.
At its newest location, the Thai rice and curries remain the highlights of Kati Shop. Sides of vegetables change based on what is fresh and available seasonally. On the horizon, Kati Shop is looking to expand to other parts of the city and other major cities in the U.S. as well as the plan to package their curry for purchase at local supermarkets.
“We think that food is a great way to celebrate cultural diversity, and we hope to help spark interesting conversations about Thailand and Thai culture with our flavorful Thai curries,” adds Ms. Jarernpan, co-founder.