weather icon Clear

Lotus of Siam on track to reopen in its original space

Updated May 7, 2024 - 2:25 pm

On East Sahara Avenue, it’s the once and future Lotus of Siam.

Twenty-five years ago this November, the Chutima family purchased the Thai restaurant, which occupied a patch of the Commercial Center that had housed Asian restaurants for decades.

Plaudits ensued for the khao soi and garlic shrimp, including Gourmet naming Lotus of Siam the finest Thai restaurant in North America and a 2011 James Beard Award for chef Saipin Chutima. When the restaurant closed in September 2017, after the roof collapsed in a storm, Lotus ranked among the most famous and highly regarded restaurants in Las Vegas.

The family later launched locations on East Flamingo Road and, in late 2022, at Red Rock Resort, but the Sahara Avenue spot remained the sentimental favorite among longtime diners.

Now, if the ongoing renovations and expansion go as planned, the restaurant will reopen in its original premises (953 E. Sahara Ave., Suite A5) by the end of the year, said Penny Chutima, managing partner of the restaurants.

A larger footprint, Chutima family history

This time around, Lotus of Siam will occupy about 19,000 square feet, up from about 12,000 square feet after taking over space on either side of the old restaurant (where the sign listing hours of service still hangs in the window).

The roomier footprint allows the family to adjust the layout: a bigger bar, expanded seating for up to 400, a revamped private dining room, a larger main kitchen, a separate commissary kitchen, and more wine storage for the restaurant’s library famed for its German whites.

As for the look of this Lotus of Siam, an important aspect will be photographs of several generations of the Chutima family dating to the late 1800s.

“We want to show the traditions of Thailand and our family history and Chiang Mai,” Chutima said. “I’m going to stick to the nostalgic feeling of how it was before, and preserve what we had and achieved at Sahara, but with more modern design.”

Once East Sahara reopens, the Flamingo Road location will close for a couple of months for renovations.

Chutima once told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that her mother, chef Chutima, considered the East Sahara restaurant to be her baby. When the restaurant reopens, Chutima said, the chef will be in the kitchen.

Contact Johnathan L. Wright at jwright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @JLWTaste on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Top 10 things to do in Las Vegas this week

Megan Thee Stallion, “Loud & Proud” wrestling, Las Vegas Restaurant Week and the Punk Rock Tattoo Expo top this week’s lineup.

Should restaurant surcharges be legal? Here’s what economists think

The hotly debated surcharges have grown in popularity among restaurateurs, who say they rely on the fees to afford increases in labor costs or to boost pay for back-of-house workers who aren’t tipped.

The top 100 restaurants in Las Vegas

Consider this your guide to navigating the possibilities of the plate in Las Vegas. From Strip standouts to neighborhood hangouts, here’s the finest food and drink in the valley.