Thai Basil

Sierra Holmes  |   Wednesday May. 1st, 2024

After sitting down with Jason and Jen Alexander, the owners of Thai Basil, I had the privilege of learning not only more about Thai cuisine, but also about Jen and Jason’s passion for serving the Bozeman community. This couple’s desire to bring Thai food to Bozeman began with them serving food out of a tent at farmers markets, and has since grown to a full brick-and-mortar storefront on Oak Street. Thai Basil not only has great food, but also quality owners looking to bring their Thai recipes to every home in Bozeman through their new project: creating a website with recipes that are available for everyone to view and make using their new Forking Thai Sauces.

Sierra Holmes: How was Thai Basil conceptualized?

Jason Alexander: I used to work overseas a lot, and Jen likes to stay very busy. So we actually started out of a tent, doing farmers’ markets and working at the former Standard in Big Sky. Every time I came back, I just noticed that there was great feedback from the public. Eventually, we bought a food truck, and we parked it out at the Big Sky concerts. And again, we quickly realized that this could be something that we could do as a brick-and-mortar. So we had an opportunity to get this current location, and we did it. Since then, we’ve just been rocking and rolling.

SH: And are you guys still at the farmers markets?

Jason Alexander: Not anymore, no.

SH: What would you like people to experience when they walk through your doors?

Jen Alexander: I am always thinking to myself, “What can I do to bring a customer back?” More fare, modern good food. We’re constantly trying to bring something better and better for the customer. Even though our food cost can be a little high, it’s because we’re using a better product. I used to use cheaper products when we first started in the U.S. to save some money. All these products were made in the U.S. and helped us to save money. But the one thing I want our customers to know is that all the money they spend, we spin out for better and better products. We now have a sauce that is made in Thailand that we are shipping here, along with noodles we also get from Thailand. These noodles are stickier and they cost more, but it’s worth it to give our customers an authentic product.

SH: What menu items do regulars keep coming back for?

Jen Alexander: Pad Thai, the curries, and noodle dishes!

Jason Alexander: We do something a little different than other Thai restaurants. Usually, you won’t find a stir-fried cashew, right? But we like to offer people whatever they want. We learned that from the food truck, because other companies were killing us with noodles. But here, we will make whatever the customer wants.

Jen Alexander: Usually at a Thai restaurant you can only find Pad Thai noodles, but here we will make them [customers] whatever they want. We can put rice on noodle dishes or noodles on rice dishes… anything people ask for.

SH: How is Thai Basil unique in the Bozeman food scene?

Jason Alexander: I really think just how our food has a really good taste, and how we have really good service here. Our staff is always friendly and welcoming to anyone coming in the doors, which I think sets us apart from other places.

Jen Alexander: Also, our passion for bringing authentic Thai ingredients to Bozeman. While we give the customer what they want in terms of style, we always stay true to our ingredients being authentic.

SH:  What do you personally enjoy most about being part of the Bozeman community?

Jason Alexander: The customers, for sure. I’ve been living here my whole life, so seeing the town grow is nice, but I still get to see the same customers all the time. And seeing old friends from high school and getting to visit with them is really nice. But yeah, just getting to talk to the customers and seeing the community grow is my favorite part of this job, for sure.

Jen Alexander: And I personally love everyone’s support and encouragement. It’s awesome. And I really mean that. People in Bozeman are so great and supportive of everyone, which makes for a great community.

SH:  Is there anything coming up that readers should know about?

Jen Alexander: We are going to be serving our new Forking Thai Sauce this summer, around June/July. It is artisan-made in Thailand with our Thai Basil recipe. It will be for sale in stores, as well as at grocery stores. Also, we now have a website where you can shop all of our noodles and sauce options. On this website you will be able to find recipes for how to make all of your favorite meals from Thai Basil that use our sauces and noodles. We will also be starting classes this summer; we will teach people how to cook Thai food using our sauces and noodles. These classes will be totally free, and this class will really be for the moms in our community who want to eat nice Thai food with their families but maybe can’t afford to go out to eat all the time. But you do not have to be a mom to learn from the platform. So it’s like a free class, but you pay for the product module. There is also a QR code on every sauce bottle that will bring customers to the website where the recipes for all the sauces are. Our new sauces are going to be pineapple stir fry sauce, pad Thai, sweet and sour, cashew stir fry, and a regular stir fry sauce.

While the Thai Basil business may be relatively new to the Bozeman community, the owners certainly are not. Their hard work through the years is paying off, as their dream to share amazing Thai food with the Bozeman community continues to move forward. Jason and Jen Alexander seem to have plenty of fresh ideas on the horizon for the future of Thai Basil, so keep your eye out for all their new sauces, noodles, and cooking classes that are coming soon.   

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