Couple who owns 3 popular New Haven eateries open Noodle House in Orange
A couple who own three popular New haven eateries — York Street Noodle House, Anaya Sushi and Midnight Ramen — began tantalizing taste buds Thursday right here in their hometown.
“Five stars,” Woodbridge resident David Negreiro said last week as he dined on Miso on opening day for Noodle House. “The pork is very tender.”
Noodle House, 514 Boston Post Road, located in a small plaza across from Bob’s Discount Furniture, took the place of Yao’s Diner, which served authentic Chinese cuisine.
“I live here and I always thought Orange should have a noodle place,” said Soraya Kaoroptham, who owns the restaurant and three others in New Haven with husband, Aroon Kaoroptham.
The couple had long been watching out for a good spot in Orange, but found the new location by chance.
Soraya Kaoroptham stopped in to get a bite at Yao’s Diner and ran into Charles Eaton, who controls the lease. Eaton and his wife, who is Chinese, had opened a pho restaurant in the spot, but decide after six months that Orange wasn’t ripe for the Vietnamese soup.
He then rented it to Guangmin Yao to run Yao’s Diner. He told Soraya Kaoroptham that Yao closed the restaurant after hurting his back and returned to China for treatment.
“I was hoping to come to eat,” she said.
But upon learning the spot was available, she negotiated with Eaton right there and called her husband, making a rental deal that day.
Opening day at Noodle House Thursday was brisk — thanks to a strong Facebook push — and diners were there at lunch time from a wide area, including Shelton, Trumbull, West Haven, New Haven and Woodbridge.
Some were already fans of York Street Noodle House — described by Negreiro as, “as good as it gets” — but didn’t realize the owners were the same.
“It’s delicious,” said customer Meg Hyndman. “It’s very flavorful, refreshing and hardy.”
The smell of ginger, garlic, curry, coconut and other spices filled the air.
Gina Ambrosini said it’s great to have ramen and pho in the same spot — a first for these restauranteurs.
“It’s smart,” Ambrosini said of having both options. “The ramen is thick and rich and the pho is light.”
The Kaoropthams, who have two children, Anaya, 8, and A.J., 5, met while here studying English. She came from Indonesia in 1995 and he is from Thailand.
The pair went on to higher education here — she earned an associate’s degree in computer science from Gateway Community College and he a master’s degree in the same field from University of New Haven.
Once married they worked together in a Thai food distribution center and she also worked part-time waitressing and in real estate.
Even though neither had formal cooking training, he came from a family with an appreciation for food, she said, and they talked about opening a noodle restaurant someday.
One day she saw a rental listing on York Street for a small business space formerly occupied by a coffee shop.
She loved the space and knew she wanted to do something with it, but Aroon Kaoroptham thought it was too small to work.
So Soraya Kaoroptham took matters into her own hands. Without telling her husband, Soraya put down a deposit, asked her father for help and secured a $20,000 loan on her own. She had the exhaust system redone, revamped the tiny upstairs space and three months later brought Aroon there on his birthday.
“He was surprised and accepting,” she said. “He’s glad now.”
They started in 2005 with a simple menu — and all the work was done by the couple and his mother, father.
It took off fast and has now expanded to the downstairs in that same building. York Street Noodle House became the place to go. They went on to open Anaya Sushi & Ramen at 1150 Chapel St. in 2015 and in 2016 added the now popular pop up business Midnight Ramen in that same spot, selling ramen on Fridays and Saturdays from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Midnight Ramen was named best ramen place in Connecticut by USA Today. The couple’s eateries have also earned acclaim though the years from Connecticut Magazine.
The new restaurant in Orange is simply, tastefully decorated with modern off-white upholstered booths with dark wood tables that have “NoodleHouse” etched in the center. The black walls that carry inspirational sayings such as, “Life is Beautiful” and “Never Never Never Give Up.” The front of the menu offers hashtag #SlurpHappy.
The new eatery has ramen and pho under the same roof — a first for them — and offers tastes from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and Indonesia in its dishes.
They use healthy avocado oil, displayed on the front counter, and filtered water, Soraya Kaoroptham said.