Downtown Thai restaurant closes its doors

Thai Lily Kitchen on Pleasant Street in Newburyport has closed and the owner of the property is planning renovations. DAVE ROGERS/Staff photo

NEWBURYPORT – The first-floor windows of one of Pleasant Street’s most recognizable buildings were covered in brown paper after Thai Lily Kitchen closed its doors for good earlier this month.

But the space, for many years the home of Szechuan Taste restaurant, may not be vacant for long.

Records obtained from the city’s Building Department show a permit was issued Wednesday to Michael Nichols of High Street for extensive interior renovations.

The space, officially listed as 19 Pleasant St., Unit 1, is owned by Nichols and was last assessed at $1,462,100.

Nichols purchased the property for $1,475,000 on Nov. 30, 2017, from longtime owner Shiang Ta Chen. Chen had owned the space since 1996. It features a 3,185-square-foot first floor and a 2,952-square-foot basement, according to city records.

A description of the work says it is “exploratory demolition/removal for the purpose of re-design.” The demolition is being done by Amesbury-based Modern Heritage and is expected to cost about $5,000, according to the permit.

The permit only pertains to demolition and Nichols would need to obtain a full permit “with plans to build,” according to the city.

When a reporter called Nichols for comment, a voice message stated his mailbox was full. Nichols did not return an email seeking comment.

It was a brief run for Thai Lily Kitchen, which opened its doors less than a year ago. It was hoped that the restaurant would fill a niche following the closure of Szechuan Taste since there were no sit-down restaurants of its type in the downtown.

The closest sit-down Asian-themed restaurant to downtown is Brown Sugar by the Sea at The Tannery on Water Street.

According to the online review site Yelp, Thai Lily Kitchen’s first review was posted in March and the last one was posted in November.

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

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