Photo of restaurant owners
  • The owners Khammone Manirath, Pathay Syothay, and Savay Homsombath standing outside their restaurant, Lao Thai Cuisine, due to open in April 2020 in Warroad, MN.

Warroad Students Open Restaurant

  • The road to becoming a business owner has been a long one for Pathana Syothay. She first enrolled in Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes in Warroad in 2008, hoping to improve her skills in English, her second language. Fast forward to 2019, Pathana returned to Warroad ABE, along with her husband, Khammone Mannirath, and her friend, Savay Homsombath, this time with a new goal in mind: to study and pass the national ServSafe exam!

    Restaurant owners  After nearly 100 hours of study each, all three students passed the proctored assessment in November and received the credential, known as the ServSafe Food Protection Manager certificate. This credential is the highest certification awarded by ServSafe. It is intended for food service professionals who are considered the Person In Charge (PIC) of a food service facility. The bearer of this certificate is responsible for making sure that good food safety practices are being observed at the establishment. This includes instruction of food safety practices for other employees in the restaurant, as well as safe food storage and preparation practices, and proper sanitation of equipment.

    After passing the exam, the threesome went to work, securing a site for their new business in the former M&K Taco and Sub Shop in Warroad. They hired area carpenters to complete the remodeling and renovation of the building, and they hope to open the new restaurant, called Lao Thai Cuisine, in April of 2020. Pathana says she and her friend Savay both love to cook and have always dreamed of opening a restaurant in Warroad. Her husband, Khammone, wanted to support them and will join them as a cook when the restaurant opens in the spring.

    The Warroad ABE instructor, Traci Pederson, is also dually certified as both a ServSafe instructor and test proctor. This allows her to provide literacy based instruction that helps adult learners better understand the concepts and materials they are studying, often in a contextualized manner, such as food safety. According to Pederson, “all three (students) came to class two days a week for three hours a day, working on vocabulary” related to the food service industry. “We broke down the ServSafe textbook, chapter by chapter, reading it and using Google Translate to ensure that the students understood the content clearly. At the same time, each of these students was building literacy skills in English language, so they not only received a credential, but also made huge gains on follow-up assessment tests that measure literacy levels!” Pederson went on to say, “Access to a local adult literacy program that could offer integrated instruction resulting in a credential was a real “game-changer” for Pathana, Khammone and Savay, because it allowed them to complete their training right here in Warroad without costly registration fees and the expensive and time consuming travel related costs."

  • ServSafe preparation and training is available at most NWSC Adult Basic Education classrooms throughout northwest Minnesota. For more information, contact ABE Coordinator Kirsten Fuglseth at 218-681-0900 x 117.