Kim Nanthalansy knows all of the ins and outs of Kob Jai, a quaint little restaurant located on B Street in downtown Russellville. She can cook, clean, wait tables, and she’s got that one quality that almost always leads to success in any arena.“I’m a people person,” says Kim, “I enjoy being here and meeting new people.”
Kim runs Kob Jai, but the restaurant is the result of her mother-in-law, Pha Nathalansy’s kitchen skills. Pha has been cooking Thai food in her home for years. Nine years ago, Kim’s husband Thongla and Pha opened the first Kob Jai but they had to close due to a family emergency. Five years later, Kob Jai has a second chance and continues to grow.
The main reason for that growth is because the food tastes exactly like it would if it came out of Pha’s kitchen at home. “She makes all of our food as if you would go to her house and sit at her table and eat with her,” says Kim. “That’s what this food is going to taste like. It’s not something frozen. Everything is fresh.”
Kob Jai’s best sellers are brisket and rib-eye steaks, and of course, egg rolls. On a typical Friday, the restaurant will sell an average of 600 egg rolls. The steaks are marinated for about a week and therefore are limited to first come first served.
For budget minded diners, Kob Jai offers eight lunch specials — each for $8.99 — on Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch specials offered are pad Thai, Thai fried rice, stir fry, gang phet, gang deng, gang ga ree, Thai style papaya salad, and Kob Jai grilled specials, that include a choice of chicken or brisket with two egg rolls and rice.
Kob Jai offers three different options for rice: jasmine, sticky or fried rice. It also offers classics such as pho, curry, and tofu.
Dinner specials are $9.99, with brisket being $9.99 for lunch and $11.99 for dinner. Portions are typically in large amounts. “We don’t ever have anyone complain about the price for the meal,” says Kim. “And there are a lot of take out boxes.”
Everything is rice based, meaning everything except egg rolls are gluten free at Kob Jai. Besides offering vegetarian specialties, Kim says that any meal can be adapted to fit vegetarian needs.
In addition to the restaurant, Kob Jai recently opened up a Thai market right next door to the restaurant. In it, you’ll find sauces, candy, noodles, rice, and spring and egg roll wraps. The shop is intended for the public, of course, though if Kob Jai runs out of a food item, they’ll not hesitate to run over and grab it. While Kim and Pha are busy with the restaurant, Pha’s husband runs the store. The market is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Kob Jai is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Visit its Facebook page or call at 479-880-0313.