CAMDEN – Long Grain restaurant, formally of 31 Elm Street, has moved around the corner to its new home at 20 Washington Street in Camden. The move was made by staff and friends on on Sunday and Monday, June 17 and 18. That allowed the restaurant to open for regular business hours on Tuesday, June 19. Included in the new location is an Asian market.
Long Grain’s Paula Palakawong calls their cuisine "honest food," meaning they use seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.
Although many consider Long Grain a Thai restaurant, the dishes are inspired by many different Asian cuisines and cultures, including Thai and Vietnamese street food, that are served in small eateries in Singapore. And meals on dinner tables in Indonesia and Japan can all be found at Long Grain.
Paula Palakawong and Bas Nakjaroen opened Long Grain’s doors quietly in Fall 2010, and it gradually grew in culinary stature, gaining fame and popularity across state, and country.
Palakawong said June 19 that they love the new restaurant very much and that it's everything they always wanted.
"The basic menu will stay the same," she said. "We can do a lot more here with the new kitchen. We got to add a lot more equipment here that we couldn't in the old location, and the work flow is definitely better here. On a regular basis, we should be able to add some roasted duck, crispy chicken and here and there we will do some special meals, like pistachio ribs or whole ginger chicken."
She said that all the meats will be Maine farmed, except for the duck.
"The local breed and age of the duck is not conducive to making Peking duck," she said.
Long Grains hours will remain the same, Tuesday through Saturday, lunch and dinner.
"The market will be a little different," Palakawong said. "We are thinking 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. initially. The restaurant takes a break between 2:45 and 4:30 p.m., but the market will stay open straight through."
Palakawong said the market will be a new aspect for them.
"It will be a big learning curve for us," she said. "There are two reasons for doing the market. The space is so big and we never wanted to have a big restaurant. Even though there is a lot more space the seating is only one more table over what we had before. Before we had space for 28 or 29; now maybe 35 and that includes the bar seats. We can add some chairs if we have a large party. But still still that will only increases us to maybe 40."
They have been working on renovating their new restaurant space on Washington Street for many months.
"This building is both commercial and residential," Palakawong said. "We didn't start the permitting process until a year after we purchased the building, which was 2015. Just to sort things out with code and work it our with the town and the state, we didn't get all the permitting until after 2016."
Palakawong said because they are a restaurant, they did not have to get separate permitting for the market.
"There are basic Asian products in the market," she said. "Some are common and some exotic. We will add our own products down the line like sauces and our house blend spices. We also hope to add some prepared and quick meals to go, so you wouldn't have to sit down in the restaurant if you didn't have the time."
High marks for the new kitchen. The food came fast and was delicious, as always. High marks as well, from diners eating on that first day. Most restaurants experience bumps on that first day, but Long Grain made it seamless.
Reservations can be made up to one month in advance. You might not get a seat without them.
For more information on Long Grain visit longgraincamden.com