Courtesy Thai Kitchen Bird Pepper via Facebook

New to the Bellevue Collection this spring, Thai Kitchen Bird Pepper opened in the former Pagliacci Pizza location. The space has been completely retrofitted into an elegant mixture of hanging woven lights, colorful chairs, and two sleek bars — one on each level, with private party accommodations on the upper level. 

Thai Kitchen was Seattle’s first Thai restaurant, opened by Lisa Ruhl in 1981. Ruhl’s son Tom Suanpirinta went on to open Thai Tom, while her daughter, Cindy Gayte, managed Thai Kitchen in Bellevue for years before purchasing the restaurant from her mother in 2009. Bird Pepper is Gayte’s second venture, featuring a shortened Thai Kitchen menu of customer favorites, including duck curry and Pad Thai noodles. The restaurant’s name is derived from the bird’s eye chili pepper, Thailand’s spiciest pepper, which will be reflected in its dishes and cocktails containing a “punch of heat.” Thai Kitchen Bird Pepper is open daily at 11 a.m., with happy hour from 3-6 p.m.