Modern Thai Restaurant Sway Aspen Officially Opens

Modern Thai Restaurant Sway Aspen Officially Opens

After a couple of delays, the new modern Thai restaurant sway Aspen, located at 308 E. Hopkins Ave., opened its doors on Feb. 7. The restaurant is a collaboration between the New Waterloo hospitality group and locally based Infinite Hospitality which also owns and operates Hooch and Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop.

According to Infinite Hospitality COO Sean Robison, partnering with New Waterloo to bring the Austin-based modern Thai concept to Aspen seemed like the perfect fit.

“We live here, we eat here, so we understand what the town is craving and what we’re all lacking because we live it,” Robison said. “Thai lends itself to our market. You can go heavy, you can go light, it can be summer, it can be winter. I can eat Thai three days a week. We went on this huge journey to find the right partner and we fell in love with sway, the ambiance, the food, the team, and the culture. It’s such a great concept and was the perfect way to bring that to Aspen.”

The sway concept has been open and operating in Austin, Texas since 2012. Inspired by the Thai phrase that means “Same Same but Different,” the cuisine is a modern and elevated version of what many Americans know as Thai cuisine. The Aspen location menu won’t stray far from the original location but may have some small adjustments to cater to the cooler winter climate in the Western Slope. The culinary team will focus on sourcing ingredients from local vendors and aims to keep the prices “approachable.”

Menu highlights include Som Tum (green papaya salad, Thai chili, cucumber, cherry tomato, long bean, tamarind), Pad Thai (rice noodles, egg, green bean, tamarind-lime sauce, peanuts), Son-in-Law (braised pork shoulder, crispy farm egg, thick soy, nahm prik pla, sticky rice), and Thai curries.

The menu also features signature cocktails like the cooling Monk Water, with watermelon and mint, and Lotus Margarita with a tamarind rim, in addition to house-made sodas and drinking vinegars, beer, sake and a more extensive and elevated wine selection than found at its Austin location.

“sway was a long journey for us. It started with inspiration from a chef to do Australian Thai,” said John Thompson, New Waterloo director of restaurant operations. “Now it’s more of a modern Thai chef’s menu. Chefs that we ended up loving and having a great working relationship with since 2012 have left a really strong mark on the menu. Things that might not be 100% traditionally Thai but things that have been translated like dumplings with all Thai ingredients, which kind of always lends us to that ‘Same Same but Different’ mark. It’s always always been about a sense of community, built within the walls that hold it. We want you to feel like that’s the only place you can be when you’re there.”

To that end, like its predecessor sway Aspen was designed by by architect Michael Hsu to create a cozy space that blends rich wood tonality and a playful use of color inspired by the mountains that are local to Aspen.

“Austin and Aspen are very different markets, hot vs cold, so we wanted to turn the space into a cozy Aspen oasis,” Thompson said. “A lot of thought went into the design and fitting in these mountains. The northern mountains of Thailand and the mountains of Colorado, we wanted to make that through line exist.”

Sway is now open daily from 4-10 p.m.


By: Sarah Girgis| The Aspen Times I February 13, 2024

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