Known over the years as a “hidden gem” for foodies – especially considering it's housed alongside a gas station – Leesburg's Thai Pan is celebrating 15 years in historic downtown.
Owner Samana Zaidi said it was originally a friend's idea to divide the Liberty gas station space and house a restaurant on one side. Zaidi ended up taking over the project and has grown the business to where it is today.
The eatery has affectionately become known as “gas station Thai.”
“I love being in Leesburg. People who know good food find us,” she said.
Popular menu items on the expansive list include drunken noodles, Bangkok sizzling beef, Pad Thai and a papaya salad, she said. Hefty portions at a reasonable price point are part of what contributes to Thai Pan's success, Zaidi said.
“Everything is good. We have a great team here to serve the community healthy food without chemicals -- everything is made from scratch,” she said.
Zaidi and her husband also own four restaurants in Florida – Keke's Breakfast Cafe. They are hoping to bring the Florida-based chain to Leesburg some day.
While there were reports and rumors that Thai Pan was relocating, Zaidi says they aren't going anywhere.
“When people come here to eat our food I'm happy, and that's my reward. I'm planning to be here for a long time, and we are not moving from this location,” she said.