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New downtown Rochester eatery to pop open on Tuesday

ThaiPop, the new brick-and-mortar restaurant based on Annie and Ryan Balow’s popular pop-up venue, will open at 11 a.m. Tuesday at 4 Historic Third St. SW. That’s the prominent space in a historic downtown building that most recently housed Nellie's on 3rd/ Grand Rounds Brewing. ThaiPop will be cooking on Tuesday, but don’t expect to get a table unless you have already reserved one. Ryan Balow says they are full Tuesday with every spot reserved, so they won’t be accepting walk-ins.

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Ryan and Annie Balow, of ThaiPop, pack to-go boxes of khao soi with noodles and toppings. (Contributed photo)

The Med City’s newest downtown restaurant is ready to pop open its doors.

ThaiPop , the new brick-and-mortar restaurant based on Annie and Ryan Balow’s popular pop-up venue, will open at 11 a.m. Tuesday at 4 Historic Third St. SW. That’s the prominent space in a historic downtown building that most recently housed Nellie's on 3rd / Grand Rounds Brewing .

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While the Balows and their 26-person team will be cooking on Tuesday, don’t expect to get a table unless you have already reserved one. Ryan Balow says they are full Tuesday with every spot reserved, so they won’t be accepting walk-ins. ThaiPop encourages customers to reserve a spot via Opentable.com, if possible.

“It's awesome. We're so overjoyed. And it's just so great to have people be able to come in and order off their menu instead of having such a limited menu,” he said of the opening.

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People who have been eating ThaiPop dishes since it started appearing locally in 2014 will find a lot of familiar and popular items on the menu. However, having their own restaurant space means that the Balows can bring a lot more to the table now, including alcohol.

“We're offering Thai-inspired craft cocktails, so that's obviously something we weren’t able to do through take-out… We want people to be able to come in and get a good cocktail, some nice wine or enjoy a local craft beer,” said Balow. “And we have created a lot of unique dishes... So there will be new things for old customers and our new customers.”

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A slice of Japanese cheesecake made by ThaiPop's pastry chef, Pat Anderson. (Contributed photo)

A couple of those news dishes were recently cooked up for a segment of a new travel show. One new entree is a walleye and green apples dish that Balow describes as “sweet and spicy.” Another new item is a rice curry salad that ThaiPop has been serving at Rochester’s new Night Market .

ThaiPop has transformed the space in the 146-year-old building to make diners feel transported outside of Rochester. Space behind the bar that previously housed brewing equipment is now a small private dining area.

While the restaurant can accommodate more than 200 people, Balow said it is set up for 120 diners right now.

“We're trying to meet the demand, while we're also trying to be cautious about COVID,” he said.

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Balow added ThaiPop will not be offering take-out or delivery in the first few weeks, although they hope to add those services later.

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