New Thai Restaurant Don Muang Airport Opens in Brooklyn
Co-owners Zachary Mexico and Billy Jones—the duo behind Williamsburg Brooklyn’s, live music haunt, Baby’s All Right—opened a full-service authentic Thai restaurant called Don Muang Airport inside the venue.
It was at Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand—once Asia’s oldest operating airport and now a regional commuter flight hub—where Zachary Mexico and Jarrett Wrisley (Chef/Owner of Soul Food Mahanakorn, a regional Thai restaurant and cocktail bar in Bangkok) first met. As strangers who would soon be friends and business partners, the pair decided to venture off on an impromptu backpacking trip throughout Southeast Asia together. Fourteen years later, they bring their experiences back stateside and fittingly name the restaurant after the airport where it all started.
The menu, conceptualized by Wrisley and executed by Chef Michael Sablan (a veteran of New York City’s Mission Chinese Food and Northeast Kingdom), celebrates the flavors of Thailand with its riffs on comforting, classic Thai dishes and new-wave bar snacks. Sablan also spent time in Thailand researching and training in its native cookery. Much of the fare is inspired by the tastes that Mexico, Wrisley and Sablan experienced while abroad. For example, the Moo Bing (marinated and charcoal grilled pork skewers with wok-roasted chili, lime and fish sauce dip), is a recipe from a local street cart in Silom—while the recipe for the Southern Thai Samosas (crispy triangles filled with spiced chicken) come from a restaurant hidden behind Bangkok’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Guests may also expect dishes like Mieng Kham (toasted coconut, lime, chili, fried garlic and smoked pork lettuce cups with tamarind jam); Green Curry Fried Rice with slow-braised beef cheeks, pumpkin and mushrooms; Khao Soi Cowboys (pulled pork shoulder with Northern-Thai coconut curry, crispy noodles and mint in slider buns); and The Risky Chicken, a Thai-style fried chicken sandwich with papaya salad, among others. Several selections from the menu may also be made vegetarian.
The beverage program, led by Wrisley, is inspired by the energy and spirit of Thai beach parties. “The Bucket List” features large-format libations—served in a bucket —such as the Thai Island Classic with rum, Coca-Cola, Red Bull and lime; Full Moon Party with vodka, rum, orange, and pineapple juice, and Under The Armchairs with tequila, almond, chili, lime and Pacifico. By-the-glass cocktails include options like the Long Thailand Iced Tea with Bourbon, iced tea, and condensed milk, and the Dev Hynes with Sichuan peppercorn-infused vodka, blood orange syrup, and soda. Guests may also opt for Don Muang’s selection of beer and wine.
Designed by Brooklyn-based firm Hecho, Inc., Don Muang Airport is part circus, part astrological mysticism and part quick homestead. The 65-seat restaurant includes two bars and a multi-room dining area featuring a mix of wooden tables and chairs, along with comfortable banquette seating in tones that correspond to the colorful tile flooring. Unique lighting fixtures hang from the ceilings, while the entrance flaunts a custom-designed LED light wall and opposing laser-cut, back-lit zodiac panels. The two bars, separated by a soundproof mechanical wall, are flanked by a 45-foot fabric art installation. A large performance stage, which now stands as Baby’s All Right, is located in the back portion of the venue.