A mom’s touch, inclusivity are the standouts at this Fil-Thai restaurant in Minnesota
Filipino restaurants are leveling up their game in the US culinary scene, and Arroy in Minnesota is one such example. But what makes it a worthy addition to the restaurant scene is its fusion of Southeast Asian flavors and inclusivity.
Prior to Arroy, owners Annie Meyer and Adrienne Donnel used to run Thai restaurant Sawatdee in the same space. However, pandemic throes forced them to ponder their next move.
“The building ended up being publicly for sale, and we ended up buying the building in January 2022,” Donnel said in a CBS interview. For three or four months, the two ran the old Sawatdee before deciding to fully revamp it in June 2022 as Filipino-Thai food restaurant Arroy.
The menu draws heavily from Donnel’s Filipino heritage, particularly from her mother’s kitchen where staples such as pancit and chicken adobo are regularly churned out to pull in hungry appetites.
Their first two weeks were a real struggle, though; but with Donnel’s mom to the rescue, taste testing every single dish on the menu, the duo managed to pull through—even naming a dish after her, the Bendana.
While the two cuisines might be poles apart given the spicier flavor profile of Thai food and the sweeter, saltier, and more savory penchant of Filipino dishes, Donnel believes that the two have more in common than we think.
“So same layers for flavor when it comes to having something savory, salty, sweet,” Donnel explained.
There’s a symphony of flavors on the menu that Donnel speaks of—from the pineapple yellow curry, Filipino pork bites, and wonton to the lechon kawaii, sisig, and Thai basil noodles.
The sweet chapter featuring halo-halo with ube ice cream toppings and Benny’s Turon—a jackfruit-filled roll dripping with caramel sauce on top—is just as bold.
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Donnel and Meyer didn’t just stop at creating delish menus; they’ve also created a safe space for Thai, Filipino, Asian, and LGBTQIA+ communities.
“We’re not just owners; we’re married,” proclaimed Donnel. Raising a rainbow flag in their window, they have transformed Arroy into a spot for inclusivity where they host drag bunches, showcase local artists, and shine a spotlight on St. Cloud’s queer community.
Furthermore, Arroy recently launched an exclusive brunch-only menu happening every Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Check out their full schedule here.