Ed Reinle wants Sussex County residents to crave Thai food. To that end, Reinle, of Hamburg, decided to open up his own restaurant, Cravin Thai, in the heart of Hamburg’s Main Street. Reinle said he chose the Main Street venue, which previouslyhoused Restaurant Kaya,
because of its central location near the intersection of
Route 94 and Route 23.
Reinle credited his wife, Toula, who also works at Cravin Thai, with being a constant source of motivation. “If it wasn’t for her, I would’ve never ventured into this endeavor,” he said. “She’s an unbelievable worker, and a great partner.”
Cravin Thai opened its doors May 18, 2011
“There were no Thai restaurants up in this area, and I just wanted something close
to my house,” Reinle said.
Reinle, who was born in Manhattan and raised in West Milford, is no stranger to the food service industry. In college, Reinle majored in business and minored in hotel restaurant management. Before stepping out on his own with Cravin Thai, he worked at West Milford based Thai restaurant Khun Thon, which is owned by his childhood friend, Nick Redmerski.
Thai food is known for its health benefits, as most dishes are relatively low calorie and contain antioxidants, Reinle said.
An important aspect of the Cravin Thai experience is the homey atmosphere, Reinle said. “I’d like this to be an extension of my house,” Reinle said. “I’d like to turn customers into friends.
Don’t be shy to say hello.”
Cravin Thai is also home to what Reinle has dubbed the “Famous Thai One On Lounge,” which stays open long after the kitchen has closed. “Thai One On” is a play on the expression “tie one on,” meaning to get drunk, Reinle said.
When assembling the Thai-inspired specialty alcoholic drink menu, Reinle said he had the entire staff come into the restaurant and sample all the concoctions that were being considered for inclusion. “Everything we liked, we kept,” he said.
Sussex County can be a tough market, but Reinle said he thinks those who give Cravin Thai a try will come back for more. “I know it’s kind of risky to put Thai cuisine in Hamburg, New Jersey,” he said, “but after people taste the food, they’ll be happy they did.”