Diverse businesses coming to Fishtown neighborhood including Kalaya Fishtown

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A new restaurant is opening its doors in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood this week, and it’s just one of several diverse businesses moving into the neighborhood.

Action Cam got an exclusive look at Kalaya Fishtown before it opened this week.

It’s a Thai restaurant and part of a growing number of minority-owned businesses looking to make the area their new home.

“You can’t find this anywhere unless you just come to Kalaya,” said Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon.

Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon

Kalaya is the Thai word for “beautiful lady” and took on a new meaning for the woman who started it.

“Kalaya is still here. She’s just grown up and become more elegant and beautiful,” Suntaranon said.

The first Kalaya restaurant was in South Philadelphia, it was a 35-seat BYO.


A glimpse of Kalaya Fishtown

Kalaya Fishtown accommodates over 150 people and has a full bar.

“This room reminded me of my childhood at the market from the moment I saw it because I always spend time with my mother at the market,” Suntaranon said.

Suntaranon, who goes by the nickname Nok, said every element has a connection to her Thai roots, from the art to the food.

“It’s from my own recipes. My family recipes.”

For Kalaya Fishtown, Nok partnered with Define Hospitality, which also operates Pizzeria Beddia and Suraya.

“What really struck us was the importance of Thai culture and how they really wanted to convey that,” said Define Hospitality’s Al Lucas.

Just a few blocks away on Girard Avenue, husbands Brian Oliveira and Brian Mattera will open the Portuguese-inspired Gilda Café and Market early next year.

“The patisserie will live here, and the display will have all the notches and other pastries,” Oliveira said.

Named after Mattera’s grandmother, the recipes come from Oliveira’s family.

“The pastéis de nata is really our number one, namely the Portuguese custard tart and the puff pastry shell,” said Oliveira.

Gilda will also sell retail items.

“Grab some meat and cheese and specialty olive oil, stuff like that,” Mattera said.

On Frankford Avenue, Chinese American Sarah Qi will open a new Cake and Joe location specializing in mousse cake.

“We’re making the Asian-French fusion-style mousse cake,” Qi said.

It’s available now at Cake and Joe in Pennsport, but come and try it in Fishtown in 2023.

“Very exciting here,” Qi said.

“There’s something for everyone in Fishtown,” said Nok.

The various business owners said one of Fishtown’s strengths is their mutual support. For example, Qi said Nok bought her cakes for Kalaya and she works with and encourages many others in the neighborhood.

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https://6abc.com/kalaya-fishtown-philadelphia-thai-food-chutatip-nok-suntaranon/12511194/ Diverse businesses coming to Fishtown neighborhood including Kalaya Fishtown

Alley Einstein

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