SUNRAY, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Sunray is home to the Bobcats and Ladycats, but it’s also where you can find some of the best food you’ve probably never heard of — unless you’re from there.
Two restaurants on Main Street in Sunray, La Casita and the Thai Restaurant, serve as major attractions for food lovers.
When we visited in May, both restaurants had decent crowds, and happy customers after the lunch rush.
“It’s pretty dang good,” said Nathan Taylor, a regular at La Casita. “That’s about it. Can’t beat it.”
La Casita is a family-owned restaurant, specializing in fresh-made, from scratch burritos, quesadillas, and much more.
For 24 years, Carmen and Jose Acosta have been waking up at the crack of dawn to feed the community.
“That’s not easy at all but I do it with my, you know, with all my heart,” said Carmen Acosta.
At first, Carmen Acosta wasn’t sure the restaurant would be a success.
“We got this place, the building long ago back in 1990-something and it was Jose’s idea to get this place. But it wasn’t like this. It was a small house,” she said. “I was a housewife forever. I started here when my baby was 13 years old. So that’s when I started, and then we kept going.”
They have fed football teams, workers from nearby businesses, and travelers who were lucky enough to decide to stop in for a quick bite.
“In football season, we feed the senior football players for free early in the morning on Fridays,” she said. “We’ve been doing that probably 20 something years. And I know them since they were little and then they graduate and they wanna take me to college.”
They have also fed many kids without money.
“Do you think they’re not hungry coming from school? They are but they don’t have money. I said ‘You pay me later. I’m gonna bring you a burrito.’ But I didn’t expect to pay me. You know, I just didn’t. I like to feed those kids,” said Carmen Acosta.
La Casita is also home to some of the best salsa you will ever eat.
“Some people ask me for my recipe and I give them my recipe,” she continued, “And then they’re coming back and I say ‘Why?’ And they say, ‘It doesn’t taste the same.'”
When asked if she would ever stop eating at La Casita, another regular, Mary Taylor, replied enthusiastically, “Never! I will always come here as long as I live here.”
Right across the street, is another hidden gem, the Thai Restaurant.
With fresh, fast, and authentic Thai and Chinese cuisine on the menu, the Thammaraksa family has been serving up some of the best for 17 years—and business is still good.
Joy Thammaraksa, one of the owners, said her family moved to Sunray from Thailand specifically to open the restaurant.
“When we first moved here, I took a chance, you know, [it’s] a small town,” she said. “I feel so like, this is the family, this is [where] I want to raise my kid at ,you know, and the community is very good and very, very of supporting us.”
And their food brings in people from ALL over.
“You know, I live in Houston and we love Thai food, but I haven’t found as good pad thai in ten years,” said Scott Chadbourne, who was in town on business.
One of their employees, while showing us around the kitchen said the food is, “From scratch, everything we do is from scratch. Shrimp roll, egg roll, everything.”
That really shows in the taste and how people keep coming back.
“I’ve had Thai food all over the world and to find this, this is kind of a diamond in the rough, you know?” said Curtis Wilie, who was also visiting from Houston.
It’s definitely a family affair. The Thammaraksa’s son, Alec, has helped in the restaurant since he was 13 years old.
“It means everything to me, honestly. You know, I mean, Sunray is in the middle of nowhere and coming from far and wide just to come see us it really brings a smile to our face,” said Alec Thammaraksa. “It’s just, it’s invaluable. I love, we love it.”
Alec Thammaraksa , who has since started college and has other plans, still comes back to the restaurant now and then, because Sunray is home.
“Honestly, I have no clue why they made Sunray you know—moving from Thailand to Sunray Texas. It’s like they a threw a dart on the map and called it home and you know, but we love the community here and we love everybody,” he said.
Located at t 812 N. Main Street, the Thai Restaurant is open Monday thru Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and reopens from 5 to 9 p.m.
Just across the street at 811 N. Main Street, La Casita is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you plan to visit either restaurant on this Fourth of July, call ahead because their hours could differ.