FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Three months after Thai restaurant, Tasty Thai, was forced to close because of racist online rumors, the owners are getting a second shot with a new restaurant under a new name.
The owner of Tasty Thai, David Rasavong, said he doesn't want this to be the end of a sad story filled with hate, but the start of a new chapter filled with love. Soon, his new restaurant Love and Thai will open and he said the new space will pay homage to his parents.
Love is the driving force behind David Rasavong's new restaurant so much so it's in the name. A lot of that love was shown to him through his parents' support in his life and work.
"Tasty Thai itself, that was my way of giving back to them," said Rasavong. "They've given me so much, not just me, but obviously our family and my siblings... I couldn't let what happened be the end of it."
Construction is underway at what was once Pacific Fried Chicken Company in Southeast Fresno to transform it into a new restaurant. A small sign on the front door and paper over the window hint at the work being done inside.
Racist rumors and threats forced Rasavong to close Tasty Thai in Central Fresno for good on May 30. In the weeks prior a photo of the family-owned restaurant appeared in a viral online post alleging animal abuse at a house next to the restaurant. Then people started to falsely claim Tasty Thai was serving dog meat and began threatening Rasavong and his family. In opposition to the hate came an outpouring of support online from the community and around the world.
'It went from me hating the Internet to me having an appreciation of it because I had literally had people from across the world that we've never met that were messaging me and telling us we were picking a bunch of guys who want to wish you well, you let us know what we can do to help," said Rasavong.
That love is also shared by those helping with the renovations.
"They put their own personal touch and love, and it's absolutely beautiful," said Ayaz Gill, Gill Construction. "And I think when it's completely done, we're close to the finish line, the community is absolutely going to love the place, the food and environment."
There is no official opening date set, but Rasavong hopes to open in September to welcome in both new and returning customers.
"Once we open, I want love and time to just represent and reflect how I believe community should be that no matter what, we should just show the love and support," said Rasavong.
Fresno Police opened a hate crime investigation into the threats made against Rasavong and his family.
That investigation is ongoing.
Police also said the claims of dog abuse next door were false.