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Hot Dang! Guess Who Got the Keys to the City
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Taveesak “Dang” Chanthasuthisombut shows off the key given to him by the City of Hailey.
   
Wednesday, January 31, 2024
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

There’s something new hanging on the walls of Dang’s Thai Cuisine and Sushi Bar.

Taveesak Chanthasuthisombut, better known as “Dang,” was given a one-pound key to the City of Hailey Monday afternoon by Hailey Martha Burke. Burke and the city awarded the key based on Dang being named Idaho Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Association in Spring 2022.

“He caters to all of us in this valley who enjoy wonderful food and amazing hospitality,” said Burke as she presented the restaurant owner with the key. “Well deserved!”

 
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Supapon Aroonpong, Martha Burke and Taveesak “ Dang” Chanthasuthisombut celebrate Dang getting the keys to the City of Hailey.
 

Dang, who also owns Mr. Dee, a sushi-seafood-steak and martini bar in Hailey, said he was humbled by the honor.

“I am so surprised, and deeply honored,” he said.”

“So very exciting,” added Dang’s wife Supapon Aroonpong, as she clutched a bouquet of flowers City Administrator Lisa Horowitz presented her with.

“I think this is amazing. I’m so proud of my Dad—he’s come a long way,” added Dang’s 18-year-old daughter Earn Aroonpong.

 
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True to character, Taveesak “Dang” Chanthasuthisombut treated those who attended the reception to a feast of sushi, chicken satay with peanut sauce, fried rice with shrimp and noodles.
 

Dang was honored during National Small Business Week awards ceremony in Washington D.C., last spring. He was lauded for having given his all to achieve his American dream—to own and build a strong resilient business and create jobs, adding to the vibrancy of Main Street USA.

Dang came to the United States from Thailand to study hotel and restaurant management but the expense of college drove him to work under Miami chefs where he learned to make sushi and other dishes. He opened his own restaurant in the Carolinas but, tired of the crime there, left it behind 12 years ago to move to Hailey.

He has tantalized Wood River Valley tastebuds with Thai basil and other Thai flavorings ever since. And he employs nearly three dozen employees—many immigrants like himself, hailing from such places as Peru, Mexico and Guatemala.

“Dang is a shining example of the resilience and determination that small business owners possess,” said Shannon Madsen, Small Business Administrator district director. “He has not only created successful businesses but has also contributed to the local community in numerous ways.”

 
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Art Aroonpong took photos of his boss receiving the key to the city. “He’s a friend and we have a lot of customers who have become like family, too,” he said.
 

Those who eat at Dang’s always know they’re going to get the best service and the best food—with a big smile, according to Burke.

“His food is excellent—full of flavor and authenticity. And Dang is always so welcoming,” said Janet Houts, who admits an affinity for Dang’s sushi.

Dallas Hall said he became acquainted with Dang because his wife Aree, a Thai native, helped Dang with some translation when Dang first came here. Aree worked at Dang’s before starting her massage business for senior citizens, but she’s quick to throw on an apron when Dang’s needs her help.

“I’ve eaten a lot of Thai food in a lot of places and his is the best Thai food I’ve had in America,” he said. “Plus, Dang is a friend, he’s like family.”

 
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Taveesak “Dang” Chanthasuthisombut enjoys a moment with daughter Earn Aroonpong
 

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