Owner and chef Thip Athakhanh opened Snackboxe Bistro in Doraville in 2018. After a short-lived location in the Battery (thanks, Covid-19), Snackboxe is expanding again—this time to Duluth, where Athakhanh says most of her customers live. Occupying a corner spot just off the highway (1960 Day Drive Northwest), Snackboxe Duluth, set to open in early September, will be a similar size to the Doraville location with the addition of a patio and a full bar.
Likewise, the menu will offer Doraville favorites like laap, lemongrass ribs, crispy pork belly, seen savanh (sweet and savory fried beef jerky), and nam khao (crispy coconut rice salad with fermented pork or tofu in a lettuce wrap). However, the menu will be streamlined to accommodate the limited kitchen space. Nevertheless, Athakhanh will introduce about 10 new items focused on Laotian barbecue comforts.
“Laos always smells like garlic and lemongrass with cooking in the streets,” Athakhanh says. “This is adventurous, jungle-type food.”
Expect skewers with prawns, squid, chicken livers and gizzards that can be self-grilled on the patio. Though fans will have to go to Doraville for the Snackboxe noodle soups, Duluth will have one noodle dish called khao piek sen. Athakhanh describes it as a chicken noodle soup with house-made tapioca noodles, a staple in Laos. The beverage menu will feature Thai iced tea and coffee, as well as Laos-inspired cocktails, such as a Mekong, a Laotian version of a Michelada with tamarind powder and chile powder on the rim.
The space will be more fun and formal than the original, designed for date night or hosting out-of-town guests. It will have a lot of wood and greenery, including banana plants. There will be art on the walls and a garden outside.
“We want it to feel more like a home, like you’re in Luang Prabang, Laos,” Athakhanh says.