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Popular Asian restaurant in St. Paul to close after more than 20 years

The owner of the University Avenue restaurant has decided to retire.

An Asian restaurant on St. Paul's University Avenue has given fans short notice of its impending closure, prompting an outpouring of tributes to the popular venue.

Lao Thai, which as its name suggests, specializes in Laotian and Thai dishes, announced suddenly on Wednesday that the restaurant "has been sold" and its last day will be this Sunday.

The news was greeted with dismay by its many fans, who left hundreds of comments on its Facebook page in praise of the restaurant.

What's more, the restaurant at 501 University Ave. W. was absolutely packed out on Wednesday evening as diners thronged the business to get their last meal ahead of Sunday's closure.

"We would like to thank all of our customers for all the love and support you have given us for 20+ years," the restaurant wrote on Wednesday. "We would not have made it this long with out your loyalty."

"All of us here at Lao Thai are sad it has come to an end, but the owner has decided to officially retire," it added.

"The gruesome hours and work has taken a toll and he needs to relax and enjoy his life.

The restaurant has in the past received praise for its take on the Laos national dish of Larb, while Mpls. St. Paul Magazine called the eatery an "incredible bargain."

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