Biz buzz, March 31, 2013

The restaurant is much bigger, the location is on the other end of the Grand Valley and the menu is more varied, but for Jojo and Suezi Unaboot, these are familiar environs.

The sisters operated Ying Thai on Orchard Mesa for seven years before closing it in the early 2000s when their father and stepfather became sick in their native Thailand.

Last month, they opened Thai Palace, 439 U.S. Highway 6&50 in Fruita. Within days they were greeting customers who remembered them from their days cooking and busing tables in a cozy house on south U.S. Highway 50.

After moving back to Thailand to tend to their father and stepfather, Jojo and Suezi returned to the valley and worked for a period of time at another Asian restaurant in town. Jojo began thinking about opening another restaurant after their father died last summer.

A friend, Connie Tang, who previously owned a nail salon in town, was interested, too, and found the building in Fruita. Tang and Jojo Unaboot co-own the restaurant, while Suezi tends to the kitchen. She’s cooked for 47 years and learned from her grandmother and aunt, the latter of whom used to cook for the king and queen of Thailand.

“She’s still got it,” Jojo said of her sister, smiling.

The Unaboots’ brother, Peter, also works at the restaurant, which serves both Thai and Chinese cuisine.

Thai Palace is closed today for Easter, but it’s otherwise open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

■ Customers of Dos Hombres on the Redlands may not recognize the longtime Grand Junction Mexican restaurant when it reopens in roughly a week and a half.

The eatery at 421 Brach Drive closed today so it can undergo a top-to-bottom facelift that will touch virtually every aspect of the business.

The remodeling work includes repair to the kitchen floor, new kitchen equipment, new roof equipment, the elimination of the banquet room, a new beer system, and new upholstery, flooring, chairs, lighting, paint, tableware and glassware. The menu also is changing, with twists on some of the traditional dishes and new items made possible by a new oven, according to owner Scott Howard.

“We might be able to do some different kinds of dinners, such as prime rib or ribs,” Howard said.

Dos Hombres should reopen on April 10.

“It’s a big deal,” Howard said. “I’ve never closed for 10 days.”

He noted that customers craving Dos Hombres can still visit its other location in the Grand Valley at 3245 Interstate 70 Business Loop. In addition, for the next few days, Dos Hombres staff are handing out $5 off coupons to sister restaurants Rockslide Brewery and the Dream Cafe.

■ One of the largest liquor stores in Grand Junction has opened on the east end of North Avenue, and its owner says he wants to do his part to revitalize the corridor.

Fun Junction Liquors, 510 28 3/4 Road, Suite 204, opened March 1 in the North Avenue Plaza and will host a grand opening April 5. The roughly 4,800-square-foot store will grill bratwursts and give away swag like Colorado Rockies and Country Jam tickets, according to owner Cody Snider.

The liquor store sits on land Snider’s family purchased several years ago from the owners of the former Fun Junction amusement park. The 22-year-old Snider, a 2012 graduate of Colorado Mesa University, believes he’s the youngest person to hold a liquor license in Colorado. But his youth may belie his sense of a greater community purpose.

“I care about North Avenue,” he said, noting he sits on the board of directors for the North Avenue Owners Association. “I want to be able to help out in this corner where I’m at.”

Fun Junction Liquors is open 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

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