Steven Yee’s early love for the business came when he originally started a restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, with his brother several years ago. Once he left the industry and started selling cars, he quickly realized what his true passion was—and it wasn’t issuing license plates.
It was then that Yee decided to venture to Columbus and, once again, embark on the restaurant journey. The Taiwan native longed for delicious Asian cuisine, primarily in New Albany, yet failed at every attempt he had when searching for this simple meal. “I figured that if I was looking for it, then probably everyone in the neighborhood was as well,” Yee says.
He wanted something authentic and factual—real Thai food accompanied with genuine service. Not just another aspirant buffet or flavorless takeout bistro where it’s simply “hi and bye” once you’ve gobbled your meal. “I missed having that interaction with people when I was in the car business—it’s just not the same,” Yee says.
His newest restaurant provides a delightful environment that mixes food and friendship. Chi Thai—Chinese-Thai, as the name is meant to imply—is a veiled restaurant located in a nondescript strip mall next to a drug store. But the setting does no justice to the chic, spacious layout conveyed with charming artwork and white tablecloths to match. The restaurant cooks up authentic Chinese cuisine, yet bestows a menu full of zesty Asian fare, which allows diners to decide on how bold they want to be. And here, Yee makes sure it’s all about the people.
Developing and maintaining real, concrete relationships with customers is something he cherishes and doesn’t take for granted. “At any given time, I can recognize almost all of my costumers, and that’s the number one thing to me,” Yee says. “I happen to be in a people business that happens to serve food,” Yee mentions. “I look at it that way, rather than being in a food business that happens to serve people.”
For more information visit www.chithairestaurant.com.