Saturday, September 16, 2006
The world of our bubble came crashing down this week. With less than two weeks notice, Otto and Rudee announced that they had sold Thai Lotus restaurant, our local hangout in Clermont. If you think this is just a favorite restaurant of the Questies, you're mistaken. It really is (was) part of Quest, part of our bubble. Most every local at Quest has waited tables at Otto's place over the years, myself included. Locals couldn't go to Otto's for dinner without being expected to wait on ourselves and often serve a few plates for the tables around us ;-) Any pilot visiting Quest was introduced to Otto's at one point or another and he was lovingly referred to as the Thai Nazi for his quirky rules. There was just no place like it.
Otto and Rudee came to the US from Thailand many years ago when Otto attended university here. They stayed and owned several different restaurants including a Blimpee's Subs in Manhattan and another authentic Thai restaurant there. About eight years ago they moved from New York down to central Florida for a somewhat slower lifestyle. Of course, anyone who knows them knows it has been anything but slow for them. Their lives were at Thai Lotus where they spent often 10 or more hours a day, six days a week making friends with everyone in the community. They haven't taken a single vacation for the past eight years. They are the hardest working people I know.
We all love them like they are part of our family as they certainly are part of the Quest family and we will miss Rudee's amazing Pad Thai and Otto's funny rules for what in essence was his home where he had guests for dinner every night. Steve made up a set of signs for the new restaurant (no plans for a new restaurant, by the way :-(...yet) that he presented to Otto Wednesday night where we all gathered for a last dinner with Rudee and Otto. Here were some of the signs:
"No Reservations Required. Come on in and Seat Yourself"
"In a Hurry? No Problem, Just Ask for the Express Service"
"Never Had Thai Food Before? Don't Worry, its Just Like Chinese"
"Casual Attire Welcome! Especially Flipflops and Tank Tops"
I've never seen Otto laugh so hard.
Here are a few pictures from our last supper.
at 11:51 AM