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A Fresno Restaurant Rebirth Made with Love & Thai

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Spring rolls are on the Love & Thai appetizer menu. (GV Wire/David Taub)
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Amid Lao dancers, speeches and a ribbon cutting, the latest restaurant from David Rasavong opened Friday in southeast Fresno.

Love & Thai (4821 E. Butler Ave. in Fresno, at the northeast corner of Chestnut Avenue) picked up where his Tasty Thai left off.

Tasty Thai operated at First and Belmont, but closed down in May for safety reasons after racist messages were left about the restaurant on social media. The message perpetuated untrue Asian stereotypes tying in Rasavong’s eatery.

“Today’s our grand opening, but for me today, it marks the end of a chapter that was filled with hate and the beginning of a new one that is filled with love,” Rasavong said at the opening.

Rasavong recalled the morning when social media comments were directed toward him and his family, filled with “hate and anger.”

“I remember waking up my wife and said, hey, I think we have a problem. And then I also remember calling my brother and saying, hey, I think I need your help. And then when we realized how bad it got, I remember talking to my parents and saying, Hey, I don’t think we can open today,” Rasavong recalled during Friday’s grand opening.

Despite the hardship, Rasavong received messages of encouragement, not just locally, but globally as well. The community reached out with love and support, and Rasavong rebounded with his new Love and Thai.

“The amount of love and kindness that we receive, that’s something that I do wish upon everyone. I wish that everybody could feel what we have felt once the word got out and the support that we received,” Rasavong said.

Fresno City Councilman Luis Chavez said he admired Rasavong’s tenacity and not letting the haters upset his life.

“This is a story about resilience,” Chavez said. “What was really inspiring is that because of something negative and nasty that occurred, something beautiful was born.”

David Rasavong speaks at the Love & Thai grand opening, Friday, Nov. 3, 2023. The restaurant is at 4281 E. Butler Ave. (at the Chestnut Avenue intersection) in Fresno. (GV Wire/David Taub)

On the Menu

Love & Thai calls itself a Lao-Thai kitchen with a menu that reflects southeast Asian cuisine.

The by-number menu can be ordered at the counter and offers more than 50 dishes. Choices include several noodle combinations; traditional — such as Lao beef jerky — Laab chicken, beef, and fish; specialty plates such as basil and curry dishes; with sides like rice and sausage.

Love & Thai offers several tables to enjoy the meal, and there’s a mural depicting the Rasavong immigrant family journey — traveling through San Francisco to Fresno.

“I love the mural that you have inside because it symbolizes the history of the immigrant story in our community,” Chavez said.

(Correction: an earlier version of this story identified the dancers as Hmong. They are Lao.)

Egg rolls (above) are on the Love & Thai appetizer menu. (below) Love & Thai owner David Rasavong, left, shows Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez the menu at the restaurant’s opening, Friday, Nov. 4, 2023.  (GV Wire/David Taub)

Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email