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Thai Mii Up may have just been fate


Linda Seng believes in fate. A week after her beloved grandfather passed away, he came to her in a dream and gave her some numbers. In Seng's culture, numbers are important, and her family was shocked that she did not immediately go out and play those numbers in the lottery. Lo and behold, her father went to Wegmans the next day to check the lottery numbers, and the numbers from the dream had come up.

A few days later, she stumbled across the property that now houses Thai Mii Up Cuisine (1780 East Ridge Road) and again felt her grandfather's presence. "I always wanted to open a restaurant, but I couldn't find the courage to do it," Seng says. "My grandfather always told me to do what makes you happy." It was the extra push she needed to open the restaurant. "Apparently he wanted me to work for my money," she says.

Seng's parents came to the United States from Laos 31 years ago — Seng was born in Rochester. Her parents, Kongchai and Manivone Phiephep, are in the kitchen preparing family recipes that pull from both of their cultures. Mom is Thai and dad is Lao. "I wanted to give this to my father," says Seng. "Everything is his recipe, from the soups and sauces to the stir fry."

Where did she get that name, though? "Well, sex sells," Seng jokes. "I was playing with words, and I wanted the name to stand out — we make Thai food and mii means noodles in Laos — Thai Mii Up Cuisine!" If she couldn't come up with a logo, however, the name wasn't going to stick. One early morning the image for the logo popped into her head. After jotting down a rough sketch, she texted her artist friend a photo of the sketch and the next morning the logo was created — the man tied up in the noodle bowl. In all seriousness, "we're not trying to sell sex," she says. "We're trying to sell food."

The menu is consists of traditional Thai and Lao cuisine. The Ka-Poon ($8.50) is a Lao spicy curry soup with vermicelli noodles; chicken or pork can be added as well. Guests can choose their protein and noodle for the stir-fry noodle dishes ($8.25 to $13.25), and the options include a "bird's nest" of crispy noodles. Vegetarians will have plenty to choose from, and the restaurant offers gluten-free and vegan options as well. Seng is currently working on a beer and wine list.

Thai Mii Up is located at 1780 East Ridge Road. It is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 8:30 p.m. 491-6331. Look for Thai Mii Up on Facebook.

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