Thai Cafe is the gem of Downtown Downers

More stories from Melissa Weidner

Located on 4950 Main St. in Downers Grove sits a small, affordable restaurant named Thai Cafe. It’s quick, authentic Thai food makes it a great substitute for those late night taco trips high schoolers go on oh-so-often.

Believe me, I am a sucker for a messy taco at midnight as much as the next 17-year-old, but somehow Thai Cafe has now captivated my late night thoughts about great food.

After learning about this secret gem in our downtown area, I was eager to try it out with a few of my friends who also were looking to spice up the evening with a different type of cuisine. Together we ordered a few sets of six-pot stickers, and almost everyone ordered some variation of Pad Thai. I purchased the chicken pad thai and chicken rice soup.

My total came out to be just under $20 for the three items.

All the food came out at once, which was slightly overwhelming to have five full meals, with additions, crammed onto two small tables that were pushed together. But for delicious food, I always make do.  The staff was friendly, but we interacted minimally with them, aside from ordering and thanking them as they handed us our various meals.

The small storefront is separated by a folding wall, allowing the smells of fresh, sour and tangy ingredients fill the air from the kitchen.  When the food was placed in front of us, each dish gave off a new aroma that made your mouth water like you had not eaten in days.

The pot stickers were cooked so that the outside was crunchy and crumbly, but the inside contents of finely chopped vegetables and meat were soft and warm.  Needless to say, the large number of pot stickers we ordered were gone in seconds.

Up next was the chicken rice soup, and it was a surprisingly light dish consisting of rice, ground chicken, light vegetables and lime.  The slightly sour hint was a perfect surprise, and I ended up recommending it to my mom when I got home. We had it the next night for dinner.

Then came the star of the meal — the chicken pad thai.  This large portion meal was the perfect combination of easy-to-chew chicken, tangy sauce, lime, and a seemingly never-ending noodle pile, yet I managed to eat it all.  It was the type of dish where you are so full, but the food is just so unique and light you find yourself placing yet another fork full of it in your mouth.

While enjoying our meal, our voices were accompanied with small chatter from the employees and sizzling from the back grill.  The lack of music was preferred since the restaurant is so small. Everything seemed to echo off the light grey walls that shelved several little, waving glass cats.

Once the plates were so empty the employees most likely thought we licked them clean, my friends and I headed out with full stomachs and a smile on our faces.  

Thai Cafe was definitely an A+ restaurant, leaving me with little complaints besides the slightly overpriced meals and a cramped eating area; however, considering the meal portions and coziness of the storefront eatery, my experience surpassed one I would expect from a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant.