On a cold winter day, there’s nothing like a steaming bowl of pho.
Siamone Fryer has been cooking up pot after pot of the Vietnamese soup — featuring beef stock, rice noodles and thinly sliced meats — at her Thai Monies eatery in Brimfield Township.
“It’s one of our most popular dishes on the menu,” Fryer said, emphasizing that customers ask for her pho year-round. She makes the stock with beef bones from Duma Meats in Suffield Township.
Thai Monies — tucked into a plaza off state Route 43, just a little south of Interstate 76 — will in March celebrate its first anniversary of serving Thai, Cambodian and Vietnamese dishes.
But Fryer is hardly new to restaurant ownership or Asian cooking.
Fryer operated Siamone’s Thai Pub in Springfield Township from 2006 to 2016. Before that, Fryer, who is from Cambodia, worked for years at Bangkok Gourmet in Akron learning how to make Thai dishes.
Now that she's in Brimfield, “some customers have found me. Others don’t know I’m here,” she said.
She opens at 4 p.m. for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, serving until 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The “Monies” in Thai Monies is a riff on her name.
The menu includes classic dishes such as pad Thai, red curry and Cambodian seafood noodle soup (rice noodles, herbs, fish balls and shredded chicken in a homemade broth). The curries and stir-fries come with pork, chicken, beef or shrimp. Vegetable and tofu versions are available.
Fryer also cooks up her own recipes, such as Siamone’s Nachos, which features minced chicken, red pepper, grilled onion over triangles of deep-fried wontons and topped with cilantro, green onions and served with sriracha, wasabi and sour cream.
Her Cambodian Taco is minced chicken and lettuce, tomato and bean sprouts and house-made peanut rice vinaigrette all served in a rice flour shell. “It looks like a big omelette,” Fryer said.
My hubby and I tried pho (with flavorful chicken) and another of Fryer’s creations, Tropical Salmon. She coats skinless salmon in Italian bread crumbs, pan fries it in oil and serves it with a sauce of fresh mango and onion, red peppers, Thai chili sauce and asparagus.
A portion of the menu is labeled “East-Meets-West,” and includes BBQ ribs and burgers. Entrees, for the most part, range from $10.95 to $17.95.
With its red plastic tablecloths and well-worn bar stools, folks go for the food, not the décor, which feels like a mix of diner and sports bar. The big bar was installed by an earlier tenant; Fryer does have a liquor license. A Cambodian flag and a painting of the Angkor Wat temple hang on separate walls.
Fryer, who lost both of her parents when she was a child, began cooking before she was a teenager.
“My mother passed when I was a child and I have seven brothers. I’m the only girl, so I did a lot of cleaning and cooking,” she explained.
From Cambodia, an uncle took her and her siblings to Thailand for a year before moving to northern California. There, he bought a Winchell’s Donuts franchise where Fryer worked as a teenager. She went on to work at restaurants in the area, including one in Carmel owned by Clint Eastwood.
“He’s a nice man. Doesn’t talk a lot,” said Fryer of the actor and director.
She moved to Akron years ago with a now-former husband, who is from Northeast Ohio. She married Mark Fryer in 2016, and the couple lives in Brimfield.
“And here I am … I’m still cooking,” she said.
Thai Monies is at 4112 state Route 43 in the Brimfield Plaza, near County Road 18 (Tallmadge Road). The website is www.thaimonies.com, the phone 330-474-7588. Call a day ahead if you would like her to make vegetarian pho. Carryout is available.
Book signing at Menches
There’s perhaps no better place in the area to have a book signing about the origin of the hamburger than Menches Bros. in Green.
The restaurant is owned by descendants of Akron brothers Frank and Charles Menches, who some say invented the hamburger as food vendors at the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, N.Y., in 1885.
The book is “Hamburger Dreams: How Classic Crime Solving Techniques Helped Crack the Case of America’s Greatest Culinary Mystery” by Christopher Carosa of New York state. He'll sign the book at the restaurant from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The author traveled all over the country, digging up origin stories about America’s iconic sandwich, said Gary Aleman, who is related by marriage to Linda Menches Aleman, co-owner of the restaurant.
I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but Gary Aleman says most of the evidence points to the Menches brothers as the burger birthers.
Menches Bros. is at 3700 Massillon Road in the Shops of Green. The phone number is 330-896-2288. Menches also has locations in Perry Township and Massillon.
Pizza Palooza benefit
A big pizza party is returning to the gymnasium at Stow-Munroe Falls High, 3227 Graham Road, from noon to 3 p.m. Jan. 27.
This is the third year for Pizza Palooza, which attracts a big crowd. Thirteen pizza shops and restaurants have signed up to participate in this year's event to benefit student programs in the Stow-Munroe Falls school district. Attendees can cast votes for People's Choice.
In addition to pizza, there will be doughnuts, cookies, various flavors of popcorn and ice cream, plus face painting, inflatables, coloring tables, a balloon artist and more.
Each food item or beverage will cost $1. Go to www.SMFcommunity.org for information.
Cafe adds drive-thru
Café Arnone, which opened last year in Fairlawn, billing itself as an Italian coffee bar, now has a drive-thru. It opened last week at the cafe at 2840 W. Market St.
The coffee shop, which offers pastries, gelato and more, is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Phone is 330-615-6206. The cafe has a Facebook page and its website is www.cafearnone.com.
Firefighters chili challenge
The annual Akron Firefighters Chili Challenge will heat up Lock 3 park in downtown Akron from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.
For the yearly event, Akron firefighters challenge representatives of other city departments and local businesses and organizations to see who can create the best pot of chili. Members of the public pay for samples and cast their votes; a judge’s panel also picks a top chili.
Cost is $10 for six samples; soft drinks and water are $2. Proceeds go to the Akron Children’s Hospital burn center.
• A Best Buy Reds wine tasting will run from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Mustard Seed Market in Montrose. It will feature 20 wines that sell for less than $15 a bottle, many of them rated 90 points or better.
Appetizers, cheeses and cake are included. Cost is $35 in advance or $40 at the door. Sign up at the store’s customer service counter or on EventBrite.
• Wine, Cheese & Chocolate, Darling returns to the Akron Civic Theatre at 7 p.m. Feb. 9. More than 45 different wines will be featured, paired with cheese and chocolate from local purveyors.
Cost is $45. Attendees must be at least 21 years old. Tickets are available by calling 330-253-2488 or visiting www.akroncivic.com. The Civic is at 182 S. Main St. in downtown Akron.
Send local food news to Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or on Facebook.