Thai Peppers is very similar to other Thai type restaurants in town and really is not that old. Founded in 2002, Thai Peppers fits the familiar stereotype of a lot of oriental restaurants not only in our area but really all over. As far as a Diner or Dive, you be the judge. It fits our mantra so we decided to give a review. The local owner has operated this restaurant on this location since 2002. The building has been a host to a restaurant in the past and continues to serve local patrons near Sunshine and Fremont. Thai Peppers has been awarded Best of Springfield multiple times and has been featured in several news articles over the years. Is it a unique restaurant, maybe? You just need to make a quick visit and see for yourself.
1411 E. Sunshine
Springfield, MO 65804
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Food 4 Stars: I ordered the Spicy String Bean with Pork Loin 5 star Hot with Chicken and Rice Soup and a side of Fried Dumplings and a water. Total was about $12.00. I have to admit, all was very good and presented well! I enjoyed the dumplings with the sweet dipping sauce and after Kent’s suggestion added some additional hot sauce to them and WOW they were good. Next was the soup. Again, lots of flavor but this was nothing super special. I only took the soup because my counterparts chose the salad. The main entre was the Spicy String Bean with Rice and it was FANTASTIC. It was hot, I might do 4 star hot level next time. 5 was a bit hot but tolerable for me. If you do not tolerate hot sauce well, I think 1 star will be your flavor. The vegetables and pork loin was overshadowed by the peanut sauce and the heat but I still enjoyed it very much.
Service 3.5 Stars: Just average service. Had to keep asking for water and needed more napkins but was slow to get them back. Waitress was nice but a little language barrier.
Atmosphere 3 Stars: Just the average oriental style place. I was not too turned on by the side room near the entrance that looked like someone’s living room. Kind of a turn off in my opinion.
Overall 3.5 Stars: Really good food, ok service and atmosphere. Will I go back, probably but does it qualify as a true Diner and Dive? Not so much.
Thai Peppers is somewhat of a stretch as a Dive; however; I won’t argue as I love the place! It is one of the Top Two Thai restaurants in Springfield. The other being Tong’s which is not a dive at all and therefore a discussion for another time and column.
I will say Thai Peppers looks like a dive from the outside and the bathroom as the building is old and well used, but, it servers it’s clients and it’s masters well! The kitchen is adequate enough to put out hearty quantities of tasty Thai delicacies for all who dare to give it a try. One of the common misconceptions with Thai and Indian food is that it is “too hot” which is a foolish assumption. Neither is inherently “hot”; however; both are jam packed with flavor which comes from a masterful blend of herbs and spices which the chef at T. P. really knows how to artfully wield.
I went with my lunch time favorite of Duck Choo Chee which is a Thai Curry (not to be confused with Indian Yellow Curry which has a strong Turmeric base) as it is heartily light with plenty of cruciferous vegetables and lean duck meat. I like mine 5 out of 5 Stars on the Heat Index and add a share of additional heat from the spice tray which makes it just perfect with a slight sweat on top of my head! As usual it was wonderful, the salad with ginger dressing was good and the appetizer was tasty. I give the Food a consistent 5 STARS!
The Atmosphere is steady and not too “Divey” therefore for our proposes here, I give it 3.5 STARS (probably too nice) And the Service which used to be great is now mediocre due to the primary waitress who though not a bad server is less than pleasant and does not have the same enthusiasm that the previous young lady of many years exuded, therefore, I must say 2.5 STARS for Service. The bathrooms are clean but very cramped “1 holers” so a 2.5 RK STARS is all I can muster.
All in all, my opinion is unwavering, this is a 4.5 STAR Thai Restaurant and still at the top of their game on the Food side and at a reasonable price for Springfield MO!
Food- 4 stars. I had a heaping helping of pad Thai. I am not a hot or spicy eater, so this was perfect for me. A very full plate of both thin and thick noodles, bean sprouts, chicken, and the famous Thai. peanut sauce. This was a very sweet and mild cashew peanut flavor. A simple dish, and plenty of it So if I ever have a meeting at a place like this I know I can go and eat with the best of them!
Service-3 stars. The server was nice, but just not the chummy talker that we have come to hope for when we do our diners and dives research. I am not going to say it was any kind of language barrier either, but I did read one article that said to avoid the lunch crowd. And they did have a constant flow of diners coming and going the whole time we were there. But that’s when “the stars shine” in my opinion. And to not inform me my soda was only in a can and no refills–well! Again, I have no idea of her name or if she told us.
Atmosphere-3.5 stars–I initially had an issue of whether we even call this a dive, but after careful consideration (the three of us going over our guidelines) I am here to say it is. There is a great abundance of oriental fixtures throughout the restaurant, but to be honest, now I don’t know the difference between, Thai, Korean, Chinese, or Japanese decor. To me they all have the very same style of fixtures hanging in them. But the building itself shows its real age (old) and when I think of Mr. Yens appearance, I have to call this a dive.