A Thai Inspired Tea and Sandwich Shop in Winter Park
KrungThep Tea Time, Winter Park, FL
Starting a business is the one of the hardest things to do. Not only does it take time, effort, and determination, but also a creative and enterprising spirit. Two years ago, Ping and Pemi worked to create a new and unique tea house in Orlando, with the idea of bringing their culture and food in a classy and modern twist.
One year ago, KrungThep Tea Time opened on the corner of Fairbanks and Ward in Winter Park. Since then, people have enjoyed their variety of teas and Thai flavor inspired sandwiches. We had a chance to interview them a week ago, and see what inspired them to create the minimalist eatery in Winter Park.
Ping (Pannarint) and Pemi (Pemika) both immigrated from Thailand a handful of years ago and moved to Los Angeles to study. Pemi also studied a couple years at Full Sail. After a couple years of moving back and forth between there and Orlando, they finally decided to set off on creating a shop.
A Name and a Concept
They named the shop KrungThep after the capital city of Thailand. Now, I know some of you are saying that the capital is actually Bangkok, which it is it’s international / colloquial name, but in Thai the city is known as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon. Pemi let me know that this is the short version of the name, and the city actually holds the record for the longest name:
Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit.
The concept of KrungThep, the tea-house, is a departure of what one would assume from the colorful and lively city of Krung Thep. Ping and Pemi set out to bring a simple, modern, and classy atmosphere to the store to show that there’s more to Thai food and culture than colorfully bright and loud.
Ping and Pemi began testing their menu almost two years before the store opened. They sought to bring Thai inspired flavors in a different medium from rice and noodles: the sandwich. Their creations were tested and sampled through repeated iterations and testing through friends from Full Sail. They collected and sampled a variety of teas and coffees as well as inspired desserts all focused around simplicity. Their bread and many of their ingredients are sourced locally either here in Orlando or the surrounding areas.
We’ve eaten here multiple times since they opened, since it’s one of Elysia’s favorite spots. My favorite drink on the menu is the Thai iced coffee, strongly flavored yet delightfully sweet. One of Ping’s favorites on the menu is the Pomegranate tea, which I’ll definitely have to try next time.
It was the first time we tried the Gra Prow sandwich to the recommendation of Pemi. Served with a side salad, it was fantastically savory and filling. If you want to try Authentic Thai flavors in the familiarity of a sandwich, try everything on this menu. :]
Their desserts are a sight to behold and taste! We’ve had the Ferrero Choco, and the Sleeping Beauty, but to the recommendation of Kevin and Pemi, we decided to try the Matcha Emperor, sweet red bean, condensed milk, matcha powder and green tea ice cream. I love sweets, but sweets can be overwhelming sometimes. The Matcha Emperor contained the perfect amount of sweetness, between the red bean and green tea ice cream, contrasting with the crispy toast.
In the same time frame, they were also looking for an appropriate space for their tea house. What they found was a bright blue and yellow building that used to contain a pizza joint and bar called Windy City. The interior walls were covered with wood paneling, the ceiling was covered with red panel tiles, and the bar was a muted green. Starting in June of 2015, the entire space had to be gutted, the bathrooms replaced, and the external walls repainted.
Ping and Pemi struggled with the building of the business early on; they would to go owners of other establishments to ask about contractors and permitting. Because they were relatively new transplants to Orlando, they didn’t have many friends in town to ask about many of the things they needed to fix up KrungThep.
They repainted the inside and outside of the building black and white, and replaced most of the old fixtures, paneling, and ceiling tiles. The bar now serves as a prep area for drinks. Hardwood benches and tables line the now less cluttered dining area.
After renovations were completed in early October 2015, the store opened much to the anticipation of Orlando food blogs.
The shop is usually busy around lunch and dinner, but you’ll find many people meeting and studying here. The atmosphere is calm and relaxed. If I had to study for finals (or write blog posts :p), I would definitely do it at KrungThep. We found a couple people studying next to us while we were talking to Ping and Pemi. It was their first time at the shop, since they found it on instagram. They loved the bright feel of the tea house to help them focus on their work.
Ping and Pemi are enjoying their first year in business, and hopefully many more years to come. KrungThep has some exciting menu changes coming, and you can be sure I’ll be around to enjoy them. In fact, I can’t wait to back again to have more of their sandwiches. I’ll probably be back next week.
I hope you stop by and have one of everything: the tea, the sandwiches, and the desserts! Their super friendly staff is more than willing to guide you. I asked so many questions about their favorites (thanks Bee and Kevin)! Make sure you tell them we sent you. :p
KrungThep Tea Time is located at 1051 W Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789. They are open 11am to 10pm every day, save some holidays. Definitely stop by their instagram and facebook for more information and food recommendations!