Diverse collection of unique businesses in shopping center

BRAD HORN/Nevada AppealT.J. Chaikwang displays fish at Bangkok Tokyo Market on Winnie Lane on Thursday.

BRAD HORN/Nevada AppealT.J. Chaikwang displays fish at Bangkok Tokyo Market on Winnie Lane on Thursday.

Between waiting on a steady trickle of customers and stocking shelves Friday morning, Sonboon Prachunbarn had time to hose out the deli cases where he displays whole fish at the Bangkok Tokyo Market on East Winnie Lane.

The seven aisles and freezers are stocked with dry and frozen foods. Vegetables and seafood fill the coolers that line the walls.

In those cases are practically anything needed to complete a dish from Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Japan, China, Korea or any of the other countries that make up Asia, he said.

"The ingredients are all the same," Prachunbarn, a native of Thailand, explained. "There are just different ways to cook them."

The veteran grocer and Nevada resident of more than three decades decided Carson City would be a good place to expand his Reno business, International Market. He said his business has been open for just over a year.

He chose the Crossroads Shopping Center in North Carson City as the location.

Though somewhat hidden behind Safeway and the Salvation Army Thrift Store, Prachunbarn has seen a steady increase in customers thanks to word of mouth. This is Carson City's largest Asian market and saves shoppers in Douglas County, Lyon County and Carson from having to drive 30 miles more to Reno, he said.

"I know that in one year business will not be booming," he said. "But business is good. Not very good, but good."

The Crossroads Center has seen a resurgence of shops in recent months, with nearly all of its 25 units filled. There's a gym, beauty salon, pet store and screen printing shop among the market, four restaurants, and The Crossroads Lounge, a staple at the center for at least the last 25 years.

In December, after running three restaurants in California then moving to Nevada to work in the casino industry, Alvaro Brito of Minden opened the San Marcos Grill Mexican restaurant in the Crossroads Center.

This is a family business, he said, run by his 27-year-old son Marcos who gets help from his three siblings and parents.

Business has been growing daily and the lunch specials keep bringing the customers back, said Brito.

He said he wished he was on a main road, but has faith that a combination of consistently good food and a daily happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. will keep him open.

For Pho8 next door, the novelty of the Vietnamese cuisine is what lures the lunch crowd, said waiter Sam Choy.

Owned by Kiet Dao, Pho8 was opened in March and offers a wide menu of traditional Vietnamese cuisine with homemade wontons and eggrolls with a Vietnamese twist.

Friday Choy buzzed around the 12-table dining room, delivering heaping bowls of soup, known as pho, or the lunch special, Vietnamese spaghetti with a side salad. Diners could be overheard commenting on how good this variation on the classic Italian dish was.

"We're different from everyone else," Choy said. "These are all authentic recipes."

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.

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