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Local Restaurateurs Putting Feud Behind Them

Owners of Wok in the Park and Thanh Do in St. Louis Park reached a settlement earlier this month.

Their long-running family feud over, four St. Louis Park restaurateurs are burying the hatchet and moving on. 

Earlier this month, Thom Pham and his sisters Charis Fishbein, Hannah Johnson and Grace Ray inked a deal settling Pham's lawsuit, in which he had accused the sisters of stealing his recipes and embezzling $250,000 from the former incarnation of his restaurant, then at the corner of Minnetonka Boulevard and Utah Avenue South.  

The four said they will continue to operate their rival businesses — Fishbein, Johnson and Ray now own A Wok in the Park — with the support of loyal customers, despite being located around the corner from each other.

"The restaurant has been going great," Fishbein told St. Louis Park Patch.  "We're doing very well."

A Wok in the Park opened in the original Thanh Do space in September after Pham fired the sisters via text-message in 2009.  As the lease was in the sisters' names — they were the original Thanh Do's managers — they decided to open a new restaurant in the same spot, and Pham re-opened Thanh Do around the corner at 8028 Minnetonka Ave. All the while, Pham began talking with St. Louis Park police about his claim of embezzlement, and the lawsuit wasn't far off, City Pages' Andy Mannix reports.

Both Fishbein and Pham declined to discuss the terms of the settlement, saying all parties agreed not to discuss its details or to bad-mouth their former opponents — but both hinted that the tensions haven't entirely gone away.

"It's not easy," Fishbein said.  "We've basically been unable to take days off, and we've been putting every penny we have into the restaurant and lawyers' fees."

She added that A Wok in the Park is likely to remain at its current location. It appears that the same is true for Thanh Do.

"We will continue in our current location," Pham told St. Louis Park Patch. "We are the original Thanh Do, and we are going to serve our full menu ... People come to us because they love us and they love our menu."

Timothy Frankland January 22, 2011 at 05:15 PM
I would eat at Wok in the Park before Thanh Do every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Thanh Do prefers flashy style and high price over food quality and taste. Wok in the Park not only has better food at more affordable prices, the staff are far more efficient and friendly. Wok in the Park, without a doubt.
pat buffham March 14, 2011 at 10:25 PM
Wok in the Park is far superior in service, food quality and ambiance - we were ThanDo customers before the split up - we are happy that Wok is opened with the fresh new ambiance and the food is really good but service is excellent!
Daryll M February 29, 2012 at 11:21 PM
The fried egg rolls and fish sauce are great. I order it as a complete meal.
Shane Lockart December 23, 2012 at 12:43 AM
I have never eaten at wok in the park but my wife and i fell in love with Than do's food about a year ago and haven't been able to stop eating it ever since. Just recently we made the decision to stop eating at Than do because of ALL of our bad experiences and because of how poorly we are treated on a regular basis. No only did they forget half of our order almost every time we ordered to go they refused to correct/acknowledge the problem. VERY VERY poor customer service and i hope wok in the park "woks" all over Than do.
EmmyNNelson@hotmail.com March 03, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Wok in the park is a great place to eat for people like me who have celiacs. Their menu even shows what is gluten free but even a step more showes what shares the oil of my gluten free food (cross contamination).. More places should do this however- they should find a way to make or have an option to have gluten free food fried in gluten free oil.

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