han lao in brentwood photo courtesy google maps

Han Lao has closed in Brentwood

Laotian-Thai restaurant Han Lao at 1250 Stressner Drive in Brentwood has officially closed its doors as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Robata Maplewood owner Thom Chantharasy opened Han Lao in 2018 to introduce Lao cuisine to the St. Louis area. The restaurant, which served items like green papaya salad and sticky rice, was able to survive the first indoor dining ban but took a larger impact when St. Louis County reinstated that order late last year. “I knew the second time was going to hurt, and we probably wouldn't be able to recover from it,” he said. 

Chantharasy said the location itself was not well suited for contactless service, and customers did not like the available garage parking. “It had to do a lot with [the fact that] the space itself wasn't set up for a good curbside service,” he said. 

Han Lao was unique in St. Louis in that it focused primarily on Lao-style cuisine. The menu was largely influenced by Chantharasy’s childhood and family heritage, and he hopes to still share this type of cuisine with the Brentwood community. “We're looking to find the right location that supports that type of food,” he said. “We're still excited to introduce Lao cooking to St. Louis. It’s just a small setback, [and] hopefully we can find the right location.”