Thai Food Takes Two
The story behind Sam, Vivi and their love of Thai cuisine
Upon entering Thai Diamond you will see the dark red walls, black and white printed curtains, booths, bistro tables, a few small televisions, hear music playing in the background and be greeted by the friendly and welcoming servers and of course, the owner Sam who is ready to greet you with authentic delicious food. All of which you can smell the minute you walk in the door and hear the sizzles of the grill.
Sam Assafine, owner of Thai Diamond located in Glendora, Calif., is a native of Venezuela. He owns Thai Diamond with his wife Vivi, who is a native of Thailand. As a native-Venezuelan owning a Thai restaurant was never in Sam’s mind, however; that was until he met his wife and tried the Thai cuisine that he fell in love with.
After trying the Thai cuisine Sam said, “Wow what a difference in the taste, good accent to it.”
Sam and Vivi Assafine’s story of owning a restaurant first began as a love story. It all began when Sam worked at The Good Guys in Marina Del Rey and Vivi was a waitress at a Thai restaurant next door. Crediting the many take-outs and then officially meeting is what sparked a fire between the two.
Prior to owning Thai Diamond, Vivi worked at Thai Diamond in Rancho Cucamonga. It was then after the original owner could no longer take care of two restaurants that Vivi and her husband Sam decided to buy it and make it their own.
As co-owners, Sam and Vivi share the responsibility of making sure their restaurant is in tiptop shape by keeping it clean and making sure their customers are happy, in order to ensure customers keep returning for more.
As a native of Thailand, Vivi is the head cook. She is in charge of running the kitchen to cook up tasty food with her recipes and often times, Sam’s stepson also cooks.
Sam’s duties include staying out the kitchen and catering to his customers. Therefore, while Vivi is in the kitchen cooking up the Yellow Curry you just ordered, Sam is out front making sure everything is going well and you’re enjoying your visit.
Sam said, “You can have great food and bad service but customers won’t come back, customer service is the most important.” Sam also added, “I want to make them laugh and feel good when they come here.”
Owning a restaurant is never easy and like anyone looking into owning a restaurant no one is ever truly prepared, knows the struggles they will face along the way, or knows what it is like to own a restaurant until they do. It is like a roller coaster ride, it has its ups and downs.
Sam and Vivi are at their restaurant seven days a week, and consider their restaurant a second home with only holidays off. What is better than going to a restaurant and always seeing or knowing the owners will be there to cater to you and make sure you leave with a happy full tummy?
It took six years for Thai Diamond to become established, however; the road was not an easy one. It took time, money, and learning to finally get the hang of what was needed to run a great restaurant. Now it is routine, with future plans to retire and possibly move to Thailand and open a restaurant there. Until then make a pit stop and be greeted by family.
So the next time you’re in Glendora and your stomach is crying out for food, check out Thai Diamond. You will not be disappointed with the wide variety of items on the menu which consists of over 100 authentic dishes and Boba drinks.
There is no one special dish they are known for, there is too many to choose from. But, as Sam said, “The safest way to go if not Thai, is the Pad Thai.”
Oh yeah and don’t skip the dessert, you can’t go wrong with getting a macaroon ice cream sandwich or the seasonal mango sticky rice. Excite your taste buds with inexpensive tasty goodness all in one small, and welcoming homey environment.