“I want mine to be different. There are many Thai restaurants on the Peninsula, and I really just want to be different from all of them,” says Patty Snyder, owner of Aroi Thai Cuisine.
Patty and Drew Snyder have been married for five years and have lived in Newport News throughout most of their marriage. Drew was in the U.S. Army before meeting Patty in Wyoming and used to work at Newport News Shipbuilding, but decided to step back from his career path to help his wife follow her dream of opening her own restaurant. He now works in Norfolk as a mechanical engineer with the U.S. Navy but is hoping to soon fill his days fulltime at the restaurant.
Aroi Thai Cuisine is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month. The word “Aroi” translates to “delicious” in Thai. The thought behind naming the restaurant was to represent the high-quality food, authentic Thai style and detailed attention to customer service. And for the Snyders, it is working.
The eatery has been a big hit throughout its first year, sparking positive reviews and an already established customer base who have their favorite dishes. Very popular with “the regulars” are Pad Thai, Pad See Ew and Drunken Noodle. Patty says, “The green curry and drunken noodle are definitely my two favorites.” There are also several vegan options, stir-fries and Vietnamese recipes on the menu to reach a larger audience of customers who may want something a little different from the traditional Thai choices.
Patty is originally from Chiang Mai, Thailand, and she likes to showcase her heritage through the varied choices the restaurant provides. “We use several of my family’s recipes that have been passed down to me,” she says. “I want to share my food choices with our customers, ones that represent my Thai culture.”
Patty and Drew work as a team to keep Aroi Thai Cuisine at its finest. Drew says he is usually behind the scenes, taking care of the financial aspect of the business. Patty is busy in the kitchen preparing meals, serving and chatting with customers.
The husband and wife team plans to expand the current menu, adding new selections to tempt their customers. Patty has friends from Thailand who are interested in working in the kitchen. They are hoping this staff addition will help them continue the upscale authenticity they strive for in their business.
Drew enjoys doing all things outdoors, including hunting, fishing and boating. Patty spends time sampling new area restaurants. “I like to try food items that are new to me,” she says.
TO THE POINT:
Aroi Thai Cuisine
Address: 70 Colony Rd., Newport News, VA, 23602
Contacts: Patty Snyder and Drew Snyder