LUBBOCK, Texas — A favorite local restaurant has been closed ever since the owner was diagnosed with COVID-19 back in November. Kool Srivarodom, the owner of Thai Pepper, passed away this January, and for what would have been his 70th birthday, his family decided to open the restaurant again and serve as many people as they could.
“The turnout has just been amazing. Everybody has been sitting out here parked out in their lawn chairs since 8 o’clock,” said Joshua Srivarodom, son of Kool Srivarodom.
They opened not only to serve their delicious food but to honor their owner by doing the one thing he loved most, cooking and serving food.
“He was family-oriented, a family man, He loved us all tremendously he thought the world of us,” said Srivarodom. “So, for us to all be here for one another for his 70th, what would’ve been birthday. It’s like I said–I’m at a loss of words.”
While Thai Pepper was only open for around three hours, hundreds of people showed up. Some even arrived as early as 8 a.m. to get their spot in the line that ended up warping around the building for several hours.
“Honestly, we are so sad that Thai Pepper may not be continuing, and we had to get our last bites,” said Customer Danielle Allred, who was first in line. “I love it so much. If we could afford to pay more forward, we would, so anything is great to help.”
Many wanted to taste the dishes they missed so much while the restaurant was closed and to relive old memories of this Lubbock treasure.
“I grew up going here with my family, my sisters and I came here a lot as teenagers with our mom who was in the medical district, and my son actually tried his first lemon here,” said Allred.
Thai Pepper gave away all the food for free and collecting nothing but donations to Lubbock Impact in return.
“It’s amazing that they’re doing that. This has been a staple to the medical field, and so when the owner passed away, the support that they saw just from the community has just been amazing,” said Customer Mia Massoud. “And it’s amazing that they’re paying it forward just because of the love and support that they’ve seen from the community.”
And the community hoping their show of support will let the Thai Pepper family know just how much Kool and the restaurant mean to them.
“I just wanna say thank you to Thai Pepper,” said Customer Adrian Ocharo.
Thai Pepper has now closed once again, and the family is unsure whether or not they will open again.