Getting stuck at the south end of campus, when that 15-minute walk to Green St. just isn’t feasible, doesn’t mean you’re out of food options. Fear not, Comm and Business majors, Y-Thai has come to the rescue. Located in the YMCA on Wright St., a lot of students may miss this Thai/Chinese kitchen. A sign out front advertises Y-Thai, also known as the Y Eatery, with photos of the variety of dishes that Y-Thai offers.
Sunny and Anna Pook took over the kitchen after selling their Champaign restaurant Hot Wok. Sunny said he wasn’t able to be present at a time when his family needed him because he was busy managing Hot Wok, and he didn’t want to be put in such a position again. When the YMCA kitchen came up for sale, though, Sunny said he and his wife decided that the time was right to go for it.
Y-Thai used to only serve Thai food, but when Sunny and Anna took over, they incorporated some Chinese dishes taken from the Hot Wok menu. Most Chinese/Thai restaurants only allow customers to choose one or two dishes, but Y-Thai allows customers to pick any number of dishes. “Whatever the customer wants; we’ll do it,” he said. Customers can choose from dishes such as General Gso’s chicken, fresh vegetables and/or Hunan beef. Lemongrass chicken (omg, so good) took the “daily special” spot on the day that Spoon visited.
Different options include Pad Thai noodles, side dishes like eggrolls and crab Rangoon and other dishes the kitchen decides to make. The food tastes so fresh because, well, it is fresh. “Everything here is made fresh every day,” Sunny said. Sunny jokes with each customer as he serves up the hot, fresh cuisine. When the eggrolls come out of the kitchen, where customers can see Anna and previous owner Nedsawanth Mokaphan cookin’ up a storm, Sunny laughs and says, “Fresh 2014 eggrolls!”
Next time a Chinese or Thai food craving hits, head to Y-Thai for a delicious lunch. You won’t be disappointed.
Address: 1001 S. Wright St, Champaign, IL
Hours of operation: Mon-Fri: 10:30am-4pm