BELFAST — For the last few years Sarunya “Fon” Rock and her husband Daniel were looking for a good location to open a Thai restaurant and earlier this year they found that space on High Street where the former Neighborhood restaurant was located.

The 132 High St. restaurant has several tables set with paper menus, chop sticks and flower centerpieces, and has a bar in the back. The Thai woman wanted to offer something a little different from what other Thai places in the area are doing. The restaurant serves dine-in customers and offers takeout.

The couple renovated the space with the help of Fon’s brother, who is an architect in Bangkok, she said. She describes the restaurant’s atmosphere as relaxing. The two were not looking for spaces in Belfast but when they heard about it on Facebook and looked at it in January, they decided to snatch it up.

The couple had been looking for spaces in the Camden/Rockland area, towns where Fon had previous experience working in hotels, she said. But she could see potential in the layout of the Belfast space.

The space runs back into the building and steps down into a dining and bar area. A wall creates a hallway from the front entrance along High Street to the dining area around the bar in back.

Before she completed some renovations, the space was dark and sad, she said. She painted the walls sage green, and she painted the bar and trim, as well. She hopes to add to the space over time to create more light, but so far she has heard good things from people about the look. “The space is very nice,” she said. “I like the break.”

The bar at Fon’s Kitchen is vacant just hours before the restaurant opens for the day. Photo by Kendra Caruso

The Thai native had experience working in hotels in Bangkok before getting the opportunity to work abroad for one year, she said. She made her way to Midcoast Maine after taking a job at Camden Harbor Inn. Soon after, she met her husband and settled in the area, currently living in Lincolnville.

Though there are places to order Thai takeout in Belfast, Fon wanted to offer the community a place to go out and dine in at a restaurant offering a different type of food, she said. She thinks the nearest towns offering something similar are Camden or Rockland.

It was always her dream to open a restaurant, she said. She has learned a lot about cooking from her mother, from experience and from other sources, like the internet. “The more you cook, the more you get better and then it became my passion,” she said.

The first month after the March 31 opening was busy, she said. There were people driving down from Bangor to check out the restaurant. A lot of people like the spring rolls with deep fried vegetables and the rice cakes, she said.

For those who have never tried Thai food, she recommends dumplings or a chicken sauté, she said. “It’s hard to not like that, it’s just simple,” she said.

She has received many compliments on her unique sauces served with the entrees, Daniel said. Her noodle bowls are another item that tends to garner compliments from customers; they are a mix of sweet, spicy, salty and sour.

These days, Rock finds herself taking breaks to feel proud that her and her husband’s hard work has paid off, she said. She expects the restaurant to do well through the summer.