Greenville’s food scene will soon have another claim to fame as the highly popular Basil Thai restaurant is making its way to ONE City Plaza.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This will be Basil’s sixth location and the first in the Upstate. The new restaurant will occupy 3,254 square feet of space adjacent to the Aloft Greenville Downtown Hotel. The first Basil location in Charleston opened in 2002. Other locations include Columbia and Mount Pleasant in South Carolina and Charlotte and Ballantyne in North Carolina.

Owner Chai Eang told UBJ the Greenville restaurant was at least “two years in the making” as he looked for the right space, the right timing and opportunity. “I’d been visiting Greenville and saw the beauty and growth. It’s an exciting place to be,” he said. “Greenville’s got a little bit of Charlotte and a little bit of Charleston mixed together.”

Basil Greenville will have a lot of the same characteristics of Basil’s other locations. The restaurant will feature an open kitchen, eight-stool bar and a chef’s counter. There will be one main dining room with two smaller dining sections to “encourage flow,” said Eang.

basil charleston

Eang said he’d stick to the same menu formula that consistently wins awards at his other locations. Crispy red curry duck is a specialty, and Basil’s pad thai and basil dishes (of course) get rave reviews. A recent trip to Bangkok inspired Eang to create curry dishes that have also become popular.

So far, Basil has been a hit in every city, consistently winning “best of” awards including “Best Thai Restaurant in Charleston in 2012” and a “Top 20 Restaurants Greater Charleston” award. Eang says he doesn’t like to play up the awards too much: “We let our food do the talking.”

The restaurants are a lifelong dream for Eang, who along with his brother and business partner Henry immigrated to the United States in the 1970s from Cambodia. Both brothers did not speak any English and only had the clothes on their backs. Eang says it was a lot of “sacrifice, hard work and perseverance” to get them to where they are today.

The Greenville design will be the model going forward, said Eang, who hopes to franchise the concept in the near future to allow him and his brother more time to travel and semi-retire. Build-out is expected to begin in the next two months, and Eang says he hopes to open by the end of this year.

Also at ONE, gourmet market and café Caviar and Bananas announced last week it plans to open August 5. There are two additional retail sites still available.

“Basil brings a unique concept to Greenville that has been wildly successful in other markets and will serve as a great anchor for ONE City Plaza,” said Robert Hughes with Hughes Development Corporation. “As downtown continues to grow and expand off Main Street, Laurens Street is becoming a district of its own as Greenville’s first pedestrian-only street. Basil fits perfectly with our leasing strategy of mixing national, regional and local tenants together to create a truly one-of-a-kind destination.”

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