May Main Street Story
“Being from a large city, I like the small community feel of Hartsville, and I appreciate that the small-town community supports my small family.” That was Siwasuda’s response when asked what she loves most about having a business in Downtown Hartsville. If you don’t already know her, meet Siwasuda Lengsavat. She and her husband, Souradet or “Dee”, are the owners of Hartsville’s only Thai restaurant, Bow Thai, located at 150 E. Carolina Avenue.
Siwasuda and her family come to Hartsville from Thailand, by way of Charlotte, NC. While in Charlotte, Siwasuda worked as a server at a Thai restaurant while her husband was a chef. In 2012, they recognized that together they had all the necessary skills to open their own restaurant. After searching around, they found Hartsville, SC, and the opportunity to take over an existing Thai restaurant. Up for the challenge and new adventure, Siwasuda moved her family, including a son and daughter, to Hartsville to start a new life.
“We’re very appreciative of the community for supporting us, and we love being downtown” says Siwasuda, “even when it’s quiet around town there’s always something going on.” She also appreciates her customer’s patience. “Sometimes it’s just me running around here and I get busy, but my customers never complain. They’re very patient.” Outside of running the business, Siwasuda is an active wife and mother. She appreciates that, because Hartsville is much smaller than Charlotte, she has time to spend with her kids and husband. Working together at Bow Thai makes it easy for Siwasuda to spend as much time with her husband as possible.
Dee started working in Thai restaurants right out of high school- that’s all he’s ever known. He has crafted the cuisine as his specialty. When asked about the profile of Thai food, Siwasuda says they use only fresh, quality ingredients. In Thai culture, food is seen as medicinal. She says Bow Thai uses a lot of herbs in their dishes, and lists garlic, basil, cinnamon, and ginger as some of the most popular spices and herbs used. “People think Thai food is spicy, but its not. We can adjust the spice level to your comfort.” Siwasuda and Dee take a family approach to their style of cooking. “If I wouldn’t feed it to my family, I wouldn’t feed it to my customers,” says Siwasuda. She jokes that, other than the occasionally runny nose, her family is never sick, and attributes it to the food. When asked about their most popular dishes, Pad Thai ranks at the top. She says that customers also come all the way from Florence and Camden just to order their duck specialties, another favorite of her customers.
The future of Bow Thai looks very bright, according to Siwasuda. Bow Thai has been a staple of ethnic cuisine for over 10 years in Downtown Hartsville, and Siwasuda says they have no plans to go anywhere. “I would love to expand my business and open another location in Florence, but even if I do, I would still stay here in Hartsville because we love it here. We appreciate the small-town support for my small family and look forward to serving you for years to come.”
Bow Thais Cuisine is open for lunch Tuesday-Friday from 11am-2:30pm. Dinner is served Tuesday-Thursday from 5:00pm-8:30pm and Friday from 5:00pm-9:00pm. Saturday hours are 12:00pm-9:00pm.
Business Name: Bow Thai Cuisine
Owner Name: Siwasuda Lengsavat
Business Address: 150 E. Carolina Ave.