Jerelene Tseng reached another personal milestone in her mission to offer authentic Thai cuisine and healthy food choices to PItt County diners.
That milestone is LemonGrass Thai Cuisine’s move in May to a new location at 705 W. Firetower Road in Winterville. The move consolidated the old Firetower Road and West Arlington locations, broadened her menu, and provided a spacious dining atmosphere with a full bar. The 3,500 sq. ft restaurant also features a fountain and a beautiful mural and a menu that now includes fresh sushi.
The new location and expanded menu was the result of her commitment to her personal goals, she says.
“Every five years I need to meet my goals, then I can move forward,” Jerelene says. Her first restaurant opened 11 years ago on Firetower. Five years later, she opened a second on West Arlington and now, five years later, she consolidated both into the Winterville location. The move also allows her to offer authentic cuisine as an alternative to the fast food restaurants in Winterville.
“I want to let them get the feel for Thai cuisine and find out how wonderful it is,” she says.
Jerelene’s career in the restaurant industry began at an early age. “It’s been passed down from generations, from my great-grandparents, to my grandfather, and to my Dad. Now it’s passed to me. I started working at the age of 11. My Dad trained me very well.”
She had a brief career in fashion design while living in New York City but “eventually I fell back to the restaurant business. I enjoy doing it, meeting people, talking to people and serving them.”
The lure of Thai cuisine is its foundation of heatlhy herbs and spices, she explains.
“Most of the herbs that we use are really good for health. For example, lemongrass itself, we bring it from overseas and it is very high in Vitamin E and Vitamin C. It’s really good.” Other healthy Thai ingredients include curry, fresh basil, fresh fruits and rice, many of which come from overseas.
“We blend herbs and a little bit more of spices to make it very flavorful. It has a nice cruch to it,” she says.
It’s hard not to find something you like on LemonGrass Thai Cuisine’s menu. The lunch and dinner menus feature a wide selection of fish, chicken and beef items that can be spiced to the diner’s personal tastes. You can dine on Drunken Spicy Noodles, Swee Basil Fried Rice, Crispy Roast Duck, Pad Thai Noodles and select from the variety of soups, salads and appetizers to complete your dining experience. The restaurant also features a full bar for patrons.
Jerelene praises her brother James’ talents and experiences. “He has plenty of experience, and with different kinds of food, from Asian to American.” James worked in a wide variety of upscale New York City restaurants before joining Jerelene and LemonGrass Thai Cuisine.
On the personal side, Jerelene moved to Greenville because she was attracted by the area and its people, she says.
“When I visited Greenville, the place looked crisp and new. The people have time for you here. Whereas in New York City everyone is busy, busy, busy and there’s no quality of life,” she says.
Jerelene is helping her three children focus on their education and their economic future. “That’s something we do in the Asian culture,” she explains.
LemonGrass Thai Cuisine is open Sunday – Thursdays 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Fridays -Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Call 252-758-7878 or visit www.lemongrassgreenville.com.