The 42-year-old owner of Dr. May's Thai Kitchen opened a pick-up store in November inside Athens Mall on East State Street.
Mathurada “May” C. Rath has added new dishes to her pick-up store menu, such as curry, soup and noodles, because they could not be cooked or eaten at the food truck.
May, a citizen of Thailand who received her doctorate in interpersonal communication from Ohio University in 2013, opened the new store in addition to the truck because she wants to give her customers more options to get authentic Thai food.
“Cooking Thai food is one of the things that keeps my Thai here,” May said. “I don’t have a lot of friends here because the thing is that it is a really small town for Thai people. We don’t have [a] temple to go [to] here. We don’t have a Thai community. I just feel like if I’m not doing what I’m doing, I’m losing who I am.”
May said her customers can order Thai food during most of the hours of the day and night but will get it delivered only on Monday, Tuesday and Sunday from 6-8 p.m. Customers can also come to pick it up Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 4:45-7:30 p.m. or Saturday 9-12 p.m.
May opens the store at different times than most of the other restaurants because she is unable to hire additional workers due to her financial situation. She is also currently the only one running the truck and the restaurant. She coordinates the store opening and closing time with her husband Nathan Rath, who works as a safety coordinator at OU.
“We work diligently to provide a top-quality product and truly, truly authentic cuisine,” Rath, 41, said. “May is the chef and the face of the business, the owner. She cooks; she is the one who manages, and then I’m the one who keeps the truck running and cleans up or repairs and carries and sets up and tears down any events.”
When May moved into Athens Mall, the mall’s sales were low because of the closing of Elder-Beerman on the same day. She didn’t know Athens Mall was deserted when she rented a store spot in front of the BMV.
May, however, found out that she is able to make more sales if she coordinates her time with the opening and closing of the BMV. May also said that she believes loyal customers will come regardless of the location.
Gracie Ede, a customer who has been eating May’s food since the food truck first opened in April 2018, said she is attracted to the food because of the authenticity and the spice level.
“Dr. May wouldn’t cook something for her kids that she wouldn’t cook for us,” said Ede, who works as a Senior Assistant Director at the Career and Student Success Center. “She wouldn’t serve it if she wouldn’t eat it herself. It’s just nice to know she cares so much about her food and the quality she puts out there.”