Customers control the heat at Thai eatery

Diners can ask for the chili powder on the side at the newly-opened Thai Legacy restaurant in Brandon when they order the popular Pad Thai dish made by owner and chef Perry Saeiab.
Diners can ask for the chili powder on the side at the newly-opened Thai Legacy restaurant in Brandon when they order the popular Pad Thai dish made by owner and chef Perry Saeiab.
Published Mar. 22, 2017

BRANDON — Perry Saeiab is a millennial with a business plan.

The 27-year-old South Tampa resident scoured the Bay Area in search of the right place where he could create the custom authentic Thai dishes he grew up enjoying in California.

After considering multiple former pizza places, the former banker paid cash for the restaurant space at 120 N Parsons Avenue near Brandon Blvd that used to be the Thai Boat.

"We thought about starting from scratch or buying an existing place," said Saeiab, whose mom Preeda and father Pitug also are involved in the restaurant. "We preferred to transition into a place that already served Thai food."

Saeiab said the owner of the Thai Boat wanted to retire and taught him how to make those creative carrot butterfly garnishments that come with your pad Thai or curry entrees.

Saeiab spent January renovating the dining room, including the removal of the boat that was in the middle of the restaurant, offering more spacious seating when he opened in February.

His plan is twofold. First, he wants to be debt free in 2-3 years. Second, he wants to pay homage to his family's food and their culture - hence the name Legacy.

"This is a family-owned business," said the Robinson High School and University of Florida alum. "The recipes are age old and passed down."

Saeiab said the pad Thai, drunken noodles and curry dishes are popular and will make them as spicy (or not) as you like. You can always order a dish medium hot and ask for the chili powder on the side to slowly spice your way up the heat index.

He's just as proud of his homemade eggroll sauce, which he may consider bottling in the future. Preeda holds a similar pride about her chilled Thai tea recipe. Mother and son both agree that adding a true vegan menu will help build on the Thai Boat clientele.

Most entree Legacy meals cost $9.95 for a regular size portion of $12.95 for a family size and the menu is large from appetizers and salads to noodles and soups. Call (813) 685-8005 or visit

Wawa fills up area with more locations

The Wawa invasion continues throughout the Tampa Bay area with two more coming soon. Store 5198 in Sun City at 16620 S. US 301 is set to open later this spring.

There's also activity on the corner of Boyette and Bell Shoals roads in Riverview where visitors soon will build their own hoagies and drinks to order at a spot previously occupied by Walgreens.

Check for coming soon, grand opening and menu listings. The popular Pennsylvania-based convenient store always offers free coffee when it opens a new location.

Want to try the free coffee sooner? Hit up any Wawa during the final two Fridays of March and get a free cup of joe when you use the Wawa app. Other daily freebies include air for your tires and surcharge-free ATMs.

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