Last week I visited the White Lotus, across the street from the downtown library. Yong was just opening up as I arrived and she took a few minutes to talk to me before her first customers came in.
“I’ve operated this restaurant since 2008” she told me. “I do all of the cooking and cleaning and everything. I was retired but didn’t like staying home.”
“I came to this country from Thailand in 1972. My husband was in the U.S. Air Force. They sent us to Montana first, and then we came to Dayton.”
“When we came to Dayton my husband told me I didn’t need to work. But I wanted to get out of the house. I didn’t want to work for anyone, though. My parents had their own business in Thailand, and that’s what I wanted for myself.”
“I approached a man who ran a big motel in Dayton and offered to lease his bar. I turned it into a successful night club. Then I used those same employees in a catering business I started. At one point I had 30 employees.”
“People would ask me how I became successful since I wasn’t born here and didn’t speak the language well. I always smiled and told them it was because of my personality. People like me.”
White Lotus is located at 327 E. Third Street
It’s open Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm.
For more information,