In 2017, Jenny Rojanasthien toured the space on Wenatchee Avenue behind the Chamber of Commerce for a work project, but it immediately struck her as the perfect spot for someone else: herself and her husband Top.
“I called my husband on the spot and said I found our restaurant,” says Jenny.
“And I said, ‘We already have a restaurant,’” said Top.
Top Rojanasthein grew up in Wenatchee; his mother opened The Thai Restaurant on the corner of Mission and Miller Street in 1991. He and Jenny bought the restaurant from his parents in 2015, and they’d been running it ever since.
But in the space that eventually would become Atlas Fare, Jenny saw that the potential the building space had to be something more: a restaurant that would allow Top to show off his skills as an executive chef, above and beyond just serving Thai food.
“Cooking is my career,” said Top. “I don’t want to be pegged as just a cook of Asian food.”
On January 1 2020, Atlas Fare opened its doors, a full 18 months after construction began to turn the space into the modern, open concept design Jenny envisioned it could be. Not only is the cuisine international, with influences from every corner of the globe, the design incorporates that same theme. There’s an entire wall of pictures from international destinations Jenny and Top have traveled to – they took many of the pictures themselves – and they commissioned the art over the fireplace to include actual stamps from their passports.
“An atlas is a collection of maps. I like to think of our restaurant as a collection of dishes from our travels,” says Jenny.
Top grew up in the Wenatchee area. After high school, he worked in Bellingham and Seattle, spent some time managing a restaurant in Bangkok and got a degree in global studies from the University of Washington. Eventually – after a decade away – he returned to Wenatchee to manage his parents’ restaurant.
Jenny, originally from the Portland/Vancouver area, moved to Wenatchee 11 years ago to be the general manager at Target. Four nights a week, she found herself in the Thai Restaurant, where she met and fell in love with Top.
Five years ago, Top and Jenny bought the Thai Restaurant from his parents. Thanks to the stellar staff there, they both say, they were able to pursue their dream of opening a second, internationally-inspired restaurant: Atlas Fare.
“We have a great team at the Thai Restaurant. That lets us expand our creative pursuits,” said Jenny. “We rebuilt the space for Atlas Fare from the ground up. Every square foot had a lot of thought put into it.”
They both have cited the amount of support they’ve received locally from family and friends – especially those who had eaten dinner at their house and knew Top’s specialties expanded beyond what you could order at The Thai Restaurant.
“In every dish, there’s something we’ve borrowed from our travels,” says Top. “The menu is inspired by things I ate growing up or that I had while traveling.”
Atlas Fare is a slick, modern space with a lot of light and a great downtown location, walkable from Numerica Performing Arts Center and local shops and wine tasting rooms.
Their menu includes seafood dishes, a good old American style burger, truffle fries, and a number of international cuisines that are familiar to travelers and exciting options for those who want to enjoy a variety of cuisines.
“We want Atlas Fare to be a place you can come both for a special occasion and for a drink after work,” said Jenny. “We have something for everyone.”
The restaurant has a full separate bar, with drink options inspired both from Top’s travels and his extensive experience as a bartender. Their wine list, says Jenny, is carefully curated to balance the wine options around them.
“We’re part of a wine corridor here, with Crayelle Cellars and Horan Estates below us and the Chamber’s tasting room next door,” says Jenny. “We wanted to complement their offerings by offering something different, so our wine list is 60 percent international wines.”
This seemed like a great contrast to the Thai Restaurant as well, says Top, which primarily serves local wines.
Jenny and Top are excited to be part of the community, both as business owners and community members.
“We’re proud to be local employers, with 13 employees at the Thai Restaurant and 18 at Atlas Fare. We’re excited to help our team grow,” says Jenny.
“We did this ourselves, with no outside investors. We’re husband and wife business partners, and this is our dream.”
Atlas Fare is located at 137 North Wenatchee Avenue. They’re open for lunch from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. They’re open for dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday and 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Dishes are clearly marked as being naturally gluten free, available to adapt to be gluten free, or vegetarian. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advanced notice.
Reservations are highly recommended. Call (509) 300 0303 to make a reservation or visit atlasfare.com for more information.