“Thai and Pacific Rim Cuisine”
SABAI is the Thai word used to describe the surroundings as comfortable and relaxing, as well as personal well being, comfort, and happiness. Since moving to Eugene in 1971, Tim has called Eugene home. After working in media for over 35 years, he decided to follow a life-long dream of opening a restaurant. “Food has been a central theme in my life. My mother and my late wife, Nina, were exceptional cooks who brought such joy to our table. This joy has been the inspiration to my passion & fascination with the joy cooking.” Tim says. Having traveled to over 40 countries around the world, Tim has had the privilege of experiencing many diverse cultures and food. “Food is often our first introduction to a different culture. It can be a bridge. It not only connects us with family, friends, and community, but to different cultures other than our own.” As a producer, director & designer, Tim is known for his finely tuned eye and intuitive vision. Sabai’s welcoming chic interior reflects that strong sense of design. “Sabai is really a reflection of both Mon and I. All the way down to the rolled napkins on the reclaimed Douglas fir tabletops,” Tim says. “Sabai means comfortable and relaxing. We tried to create a space that was natural and uncomplicated, yet striking and beautiful.” A native of Thailand, Mon (Duangkamol Sutthiwari), grew up enjoying the culinary traditions of Thailand and Southeast Asia. Like many cultures around the world, food is at the center of every gathering and this was true in the Sutthiwari household. Much of her life was spent around the table with family & friends enjoying the flavors of Thai-Asian cuisine. After graduating from college in Thailand, Mon moved to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon to further her education in linguistics. Mon quickly fell in love with Eugene and the people, but she longed for the flavors of home and found herself searching for the food she loved. She discovered Chao Praya, a popular local Thai restaurant, which provided the food and family she longed for. To help supplement her income she took a job at the restaurant and it was there that she began to discover her passion for food and people. In 2004, “B” Arna Khongkhaning, son of the owner of Chao Praya, decided to open his own restaurant and asked Mon if she wanted to help. Together, in May of that same year, they opened Tararin Thai Cuisine. While “B” ran the kitchen and overall business, Mon was responsible for the front of the house. Hiring and training staff, developing and organizing restaurant procedures, waiting tables, and running the floor. It was a 24/7 job for both, but soon their hard work and commitment began to pay off. In 2009, Mon decided it was time to venture out on her own. She teamed up with Tim Murff, a longtime resident of Eugene with a background in media and marketing, to develop this intimate 70-seat café and bar. “Eugene has such a wonderful history of great restaurants and bakeries. That tradition is spilling over to Oakway Center,” Mon says. “I’m just excited about the chance to share what I love about my culture with the people of Eugene. But of course, with a Northwest twist.” A confluence of cuisine from countries located along the Pacific Ocean, Sabai reflects the exotic flavors we’ve come to love. With an emphasis on fresh ingredients, simply prepared with care, thoughtfulness, and culinary precision, the menu is a mingling of Pacific Rim flavors with an emphasis on time-honored Thai dishes. Featuring imported beers, local micro brews, spirits, and Northwest wines, Sabai is where locals and vistors alike come for lunch and dinner, or just to relax with family, friends and colleagues over drinks and appetizers. Food has a way of transporting one to some other time and place. Sabai does just that. With its Zen-like modern interior accented with reclaimed wood, natural elements, cozy booths, subtle lighting and warm colors, SABAI is an inviting blend of welcoming chic. Add in the outdoor patio and water fountain on the plaza, it’s no surprise you’ll want to come back again and again.
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Sabai Café & Bar
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