Photo by Zach Sparks(L-R) Jody Danek, Rebecca Hsu and Gavin Buckley recently brought their Lemongrass concept to Arnold so they could serve fresh and addictive Thai cuisine to a new customer base.
Lemongrass Arnold Brings Thai Cuisine To An Underserved Population
As business partners and co-owners of Annapolis restaurants Tsunami and the Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge, Jody Danek and Gavin Buckley have substantial experience in the dining industry, and with their latest endeavor, Lemongrass Arnold, they teamed up with Rebecca Hsu to bring fresh and addictive Thai fare to an area that could use more culinary diversity.
“Thai food is so fresh, and everything is cooked individually in a wok, on high heat,” Danek said. “It’s almost like healthy fast food.
“There is a variety of Asian food: Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean,” Danek added. “Each has its own flavor and cooking techniques, but once people try Thai, they get hooked.”
The first Lemongrass location came to West Street in Annapolis in 2005. Lemongrass Too, also in Annapolis, followed a few years later, and in 2016, Lemongrass Arnold became the newest eatery serving up Thai cuisine. After establishing a loyal customer base in Annapolis, nearby Arnold was a logical space for expansion.
“Arnold and Severna Park are underserviced,” Buckley said, adding that there was widespread support for the new location. “We loved that it caught on.”
Adding to the convenience of a shorter drive for customers was a setting that invites patrons of all ages. “It’s a family type of restaurant,” said Hsu, who oversees day-to-day operations at the Arnold restaurant with the help of her husband, Stanley, who is also a chef at Tsunami. “Lots of families bring their kids. It’s a friendly atmosphere.”
At Lemongrass Arnold, adults will enjoy the full spectrum of the menu, from spicy to sweet. “We have a lot of healthy options,” Danek said. “And for people who like fried food, you can certainly get fried spring rolls or crispy asparagus or crispy green beans.”
Mild options like cashew chicken and satay (chicken on a stick) are perfect for children or anyone new to Thai food, but Hsu explained that the chefs can always adjust the spiciness and accommodate other dietary needs.
“We don’t have a gluten-free menu, but most of the dishes can be made gluten-free,” Hsu indicated. The sauces are made without dairy products and some of the noodles are rice-based.
Also worth noting: Anyone interested in sharing the tasty Thai food at their party of 50 people or less can call Lemongrass for catering.
Since Lemongrass Arnold opened, the community has shown so much support that the business partners opted to add 25 more seats in late February after the site next door became available. In addition to reduced wait times, Lemongrass Arnold can now seat larger groups.
Dining hours are 11:30am-9:30pm Monday through Thursday, 5:00pm-10:30pm on Friday, noon-10:30pm on Saturday and 4:00pm-9:00pm on Sunday. Guests can take advantage of happy hour specials 3:00pm-6:00pm Monday through Friday and 4:00pm-5:30pm on Sunday. Appetizers, wine and cocktails are $5, and beer specials are offered for $3.
Danek and Buckley plan to open another Lemongrass spot in Crofton soon, but they encourage Severna Park and Arnold residents to visit their newest restaurant at 959 Ritchie Highway in Arnold, call the staff at 410-518-6990 or browse the menu online at www.lemongrassannapolis.com.
“The flavors are so rich, and the restaurant has music and good lighting in a contemporary setting,” Buckley said. “There are not a lot of places like this in Arnold and Severna Park.”