I’m a little worried.
Dave Scheer, the co-owner of Little Bangkok and Drunken Noodle in East Grand Forks, says the two restaurants will soon be combined into one, in the Drunken Noodle location (the former Applebee’s location) right along the river in EGF.
Scheer told the Grand Forks Herald: “The Drunken Noodle space isn’t being used very well… The college crowd didn’t find us as attractive as we thought they would.”
According to the article, the restaurants will be combined in the early part of next year.
A sushi bar is set to be put into the stage area in the Drunken Noodle this Wednesday, so the restaurant will be closed for about a week. Call ahead to check if it’s open over the next week and a half.
To me, this is a terrible idea.
The plan Scheer and co-owner Thamrong “Keng” Dechawuth had is a good one: Bangkok is a bit more up-scale in a modern and chic setting, while Noodle is cheaper, with (obviously) more noodle dishes aimed at a younger crowd.
But would you want to go to a restaurant that is actually two different restaurants, ordering off of two different menus? It just seems to me to be diluting the identities of the two restaurants, mostly Little Bangkok, which has been pretty successful.
But Drunken Noodle, on the other hand, has struggled. Along with other restaurants competing around town like Shing Ya and Fuji in Grand Forks, Drunken Noodle and Little Bangkok are pretty much competing against each other, and just a few blocks away too. Maybe Scheer and Dechawuth read the market wrong and there just isn’t demand for another Asian restaurant.
Perhaps a better option would be to keep the successful Little Bangkok in place at its current location and call it quits with Drunken Noodle, rather than sacrificing Bangkok to try to save Noodle.
I sincerely hope this doesn’t doom both places.