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Goodbye Thai, hello American tapas


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After two tries with Thai, a Downtown Albuquerque restaurant is headed in a new direction.

Prolific Albuquerque restaurateur Kathy Punya closed Thai Saweiy at 109 Gold SW earlier this summer with plans to make some kitchen repairs and introduce a new concept.

While the space always has offered Thai food — it started as Thai Crystal — Punya says the new plan includes higher-end American cuisine. Crews currently are remodeling the 126-seat space and the new venture — called Soul and Vine — is expected to open next month.

“I hope it works now,” Punya told the Journal with a laugh. “(I) try to do the best I can.”


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Punya — who also owns Sushi King and Loving Vegan — was part of the ownership group that opened Thai Crystal in 2002. She later sold her stake, only to return and rebrand it as Thai Saweiy in 2013. Unhappy with the result, she closed it in July.

Soul and Vine’s general manager Kim Molina described the concept as “American tapas” and said the idea is to offer something Downtown doesn’t currently have.

“We’re so excited. We really want to help Downtown,” she said. “We want to pull people Downtown.”