Wilbraham welcomes new Thai restaurant, Blue Elephant

Feb. 20, 2019 | Carling Willis

Above features photos of Wilbraham’s newest restaurant, Blue Elephant, an authentic Thai cuisine eatery. The restaurant is located at 2000 Boston Rd. in the former Meatball Kitchen location.
Reminder Publishing photos by Carling Willis

WILBRAHAM – Blue Elephant, an authentic Thai cuisine restaurant, located at 2000 Boston Rd. is scheduled to open their doors during the first week of March. The owners, Daniel O’Connell, Walter Czepiel, Nuchjaree Booniyom and Auronroj Arkhoemrok, are anticipating the opening and shared with Reminder Publishing that they’re excited to see their hard work pay off.

Blue Elephant is currently the only Thai Cuisine restaurant in Wilbraham.

“I can’t wait to bring my culture to Wilbraham!” said owner Nuchjaree Booniyom.

For the majority of her life, Booniyom has lived in Thailand. She moved to the states eight years ago to start a life with her husband, co-owner Daniel O’Connell. Her friend, Auronroj Arkhoemrok, also from Thailand, moved to the states two years before she had, and has been working in Thai restaurants in Boston and Northampton. Two years ago Booniyom and Arkhoemrok got together for dinner and talked about how they longed for their authentic Thai food they missed so much from Thailand. They both agreed that the Thai restaurants in this area have delicious food, but it is not as authentic as they remember from Thailand. Through this conversation they made a plan to open their own Thai restaurant.

“We suddenly made this plan that combined our two dreams.” commented Booniyom.

Booniyom started taking English classes at Springfield Technical Community College in order to speak and understand English better. She received help from her husband, who is an attorney, to understand many of the laws that tie into starting a new business.

Blue Elephant already has hired three Thai cooks and a full Thai staff that will wear authentic Thai uniforms to further enrich the experience.

Booniyom and Arkhoemrok conveyed that they are extremely dedicated to ensuring their customers have an understanding of their culture from Thailand after dining at Blue Elephant. Because of this desire, they have taken two trips back to Thailand in the last year to buy Artwork, décor and ceramic bowls and cups for the restaurant. Every piece of artwork and decoration at Blue Elephant has come from Thailand.

“Last time we went to Thailand I filled six suitcases with things for the restaurant to bring home!” Booniyom stated.

Along with the authentic artwork and décor, there will be soft, Thai flute music playing as background music throughout the restaurant and outdoor patio.

In order to acquire that authentic taste the owners want to provide to their customers, they will be getting all herbs and spices used in the cooking at Blue Elephant sent to them directly from Thailand. Booniyum shared that Tom Yum Soup will be on their menu along with traditional Pad Thai, sticky rice and many other classic Thai dishes.

“The name Blue Elephant comes from the respect Thai culture has for elephants. They are strong, powerful animals that have left their mark on our history. Elephants also represent good luck…we want our restaurant to embody all of that!” Booniyum remarked.

To follow the restaurant to their opening, like their Facebook page “Blue Elephant Restaurant Authentic Thai Cuisine.”

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Cindy Friedman

Cindy Friedman

wrote on 12/15/2019 at 9:43:59 AM

My Boyfriend and I love this place ..The thai food is amazing and the restaurant is definately an upscale and chic environment. The place is clean and really cozy and decorated with Thai Art. Love it....