Owner Mykhanh Bahlman has served Asian food from the window of a space at Building 420 on the Main Quad since 1987. A family emergency forced her to close unexpectedly on Monday, according to Stanford News.
"Her next step is retirement — spending time with her family and being able to sleep in past 3 o’clock in the morning," Stanford News reported.
Bahlman told Stanford News that she "would like to thank the Stanford community for the chance to serve them for the past 30 years."
The no frills, cash-only eatery was popular among students, faculty and staff. The line was reportedly long at lunchtime but moved quickly. Contrary to its name and its owners heritage (Bahlman is Vietnamese), Thai Cafe served a range of Asian dishes like chicken soup, rice noodles, chicken curry and vegetable fried rice. Diners who posted reviews on Yelp describe Thai Cafe as one of the best dining options on campus, churning out "magical" food from a tiny window and providing a "beacon of light in a vast darkness" of quality Asian food on campus.
In a 2014 Stanford Daily story, Bahlman said that "customers come from all over the world and ask for the Thai Cafe," including a professor from Italy who used to frequent the cafe with his wife at least once every summer.
In that same interview, Bahlman said she sought to keep prices low to serve her primary customers: college students. At the time, she hoped to not raise prices past $6 per item.
A Yelper reported in December 2016 that Thai Cafe increased prices to $7 per dish.
"ITS OKAY, I STILL LOVE YOU, THAI WINDOW," Vivian C. wrote. "The portions are the same. The line is still fast. The food is still good. No complaints."