The owner of the Giggling Squid chain of Thai restaurants says he has ‘high hopes’ for a planned new branch in Horsham’s East Street.
Andy Laurillard, owner of the family business, announced he is taking over the premises vacated by Giraffe last week, and hopes to open by February 2014.
The move represents a long-held ambition to add Horsham to its growing portfolio of restaurants across the South East.
Mr Laurillard said: “We have got high hopes for it and we hope people like what we do.”
He described the Giggling Squid as good quality rustic Thai cooking in a relaxed atmosphere. He said the popularity of Thai food was growing steadily in the UK.
“Thai is a healthier and more flavoursome version of Chinese and Indian. It’s got the best of both worlds,” he explained.
Meals are freshly prepared in the kitchen from scratch, and its tapas menu, especially at lunchtime, had proved popular in other locations, with many of the dishes including seafood reflecting the balance of Thai cuisine.
Since opening its first restaurant in Hove in 2008, it has opened further branches in Brighton, Crawley, and Reigate.
He said that the Reigate restaurant opened in July and has been so popular it has had to turn customers away, with sizeable queues forming even in midweek.
The East Street restaurant will be the Giggling Squid’s ninth branch.
Mr Laurillard said: “We love Horsham, we have good friends in Horsham and go out for a bite in the evenings.
“We always thought there was a gap in the market in the town and we’ve been looking for a site for the last two or three years.”
He thought Horsham was a great place to be and the recent changes in East Street had made it one of the most attractive eating venues in the Weald, rivalling Brighton as a destination for food lovers.
He added: “We hope we will offer something a bit different.”
While every opening and every new branch was exciting, he said it represented a lot of time and effort.
He expected to employ around 15 people getting the right mix of staff from outside the area, hiring Thai chefs to make sure the food is authentic, and locals working within the restaurant.
Giraffe was bought by Tesco earlier this year, and signs on the closed premises said the nearest location to Horsham is Guildford.
For more information visit www.gigglingsquid.com