Volume 17, Number 44 | March 24 - 31, 2005

Tribeca’s Toons now a phone call or a walk away

By Aman Singh

The Toons have moved out of Tribeca after 20 years. The Thai-food family-owned restaurant, which opened almost two decades ago in Tribeca, with nothing more than cooking skills to attract foodlovers, closed last month.

Situated at 363 Greenwich St., The Toons was a popular Thai eatery for Tribeca in the last decade, when there were few alternative-eating places besides fast food joints and delis.

But manager for The Toons, and a member of the Toon family, Tieecha Toon, said that The Toons at 417 Bleecker St. would reamain in business with their new venture on John St. She said the decision to close the Greenwich St.location was made after her rent went up by over 30 percent.

“We have been here for almost 20 years and came when there were very few alternative eating places here in Tribeca. In fact, when we opened, there were only three other restaurants around. But the rising rents have become too much to handle,” she said.

The family has opened another Thai restaurant, this one, according to Toon, is much trendier and fast-food-oriented but completely Thai.

Named after one of the Toon’s granddaughters, Café Sage located at 108 John St., has a similar menu to Toons, albeit with a wider selection. According to Toon, in the two months that the restaurant has been open, it has fared a lot better than their Greenwich St. location, encouraging them to focus all their manpower and money on Café Sage now.

Although they began their business more than 25 years ago with The Toons on Bleecker St., their Tribeca restaurant has also been very popular, with take-out and deliveries being their mainstay.

“Now we want to concentrate and focus on improving our food and growing the Toon name in Thai food business with Café Sage. We have never focused on expanding and making a name for ourselves, but with the new Toon generation, we want to become more prominent and popular,” said Toon.

They are also not worried about losing clientele. “Tribeca knows us. Our permanent customers will come to the Village location (Bleecker St.) and Café Sage is also near. We know we will keep our customers intact. Our food is popular and although people are upset about losing us here, they say they will come to our other locations,” Toon said.

Amid the still legible sign of “Cuisine of Bangkok” painted in vivid colors, construction has been going on at Toons’ home for the last two decades. While there was no sign indicating what might replace Toons, an American restaurant will take over the Greenwich St. location, said Toon. A bartender at the neighboring Pig-n-Whistle, however, said that an Irish pub/restaurant was in the pipeline.

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