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Maple Grove Voice

Hong Thai Restaurant Opens in Maple Grove

Aug 03, 2016 12:06AM ● By Doug Erlien

Brothers Derek and Jesse Carstensen bring Hong Thai Restaurant to Maple Grove. (photo by Wendy Erlien)

In their early 20’s, brothers Derek and Jesse Carstensen have been in the restaurant business for more than a decade - working with their parents when they opened their first Hong Thai location in Albertville in 2003.

“That was the original started by my mom and dad,” Derek said. “My mom always wanted to open a restaurant. She was from Laos and told my dad ‘we have to open a restaurant’ and it’s been really successful.”

In 2008, the family opened their second Hong Thai location in Rogers, which has been equally successful, according to Derek. It wasn’t until a trip to Laos looking for a business venture and something to do that he heard his calling. A third location in the family business. 

When he first started working in his the family business growing up, Derek didn’t have plans to expand. His trip to Laos and Thailand changed all of that.

“I don’t have any memory of Laos or Thailand [growing up], so when I went there it really shows you what the food is all about,” Derek said. “I came back and decided I wanted to expand Hong Thai. I talked to my parents and got my brother and family on board and started looking for locations and here we are now in Arbor Lakes.”

 It didn’t take the brothers long to settle on the location. The former Mongo’s Grill location was the perfect setting for his open kitchen concept which is twice the size of the Albertville and Rogers locations.

“Maple Grove is awesome," Derek said. “Being here in the Fountains at Arbor Lakes, we thought it would be a great opportunity to bring something different to the area.”

The business opened at the end of July at The Fountains at Arbor Lakes.

With a focus on both dine in and takeout, Hong Thai boasts a menu 
that includes salads, appetizers, entrees as well as rice and noodles.

“It’s really unrefined food. It’s not like French cuisine all nice and very refined,” Derek said. “Thai food, Lao food is very loose. Everything comes together at the end. It looks rustic, but beautiful at the same time.”

The goal for the brothers is simple.

“We’re here to bring an awesome restaurant to Maple Grove. We have really delicious food and we just want to deliver excellence at this location. That’s really our goal.”  

Hong Thai Restaurant 
11628 Fountains Drive
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sunday-  Noon to 8 p.m. 

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