Bryan Chunton (partner)
Pei Shan Wei (partner)
Aniwat Khotsopha (chef)
76-04 Woodside Avenue Elmhurst, NY 11373
In 2016, Bryan and Pei opened a Cajun Vietnamese restaurant in Sunnyside called Zen Yai -- "big noodle." 45-04 Queens Boulevard.
Business was going so well, they decided to open a second Zen Yai in Williamsburg.
December 2018: Bryan buys the Sunnyside sign at an arts fair for the first Zen Yai.
Two days later: "We were working on the [Brooklyn] lease, had the lease in hand... and then something happens in Sunnyside. A five alarm fire. Half the block on 45th Street burned down.
"I was supposed to sign the lease two days after the fire. I hold off on it for a month. I had to figure out what I wanted to do. So I decided to keep going."
Bryan and Pei brought the Sunnyside sign to their new Brooklyn restaurant. Bryan recalls saying: "I am going to go back to Sunnyside, no matter what. That Sunnyside sign - keep your spirits up during those hard times."
In December 2021, Bryan and Pei opened Eat Gai in Elmhurst, a Thai chicken restaurant, and in April 2022, it becomes the Isan-style eatery Zaab Zaab. The Sunnyside sign now resides there.