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Thai restaurant deals with second major setback in months

Restaurant's Del Mar location burned down in Aug.
Posted at 5:26 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 20:26:27-04

HILLCREST (KGTV) -- A local family’s business is dealing with its second major setback in roughly eight months.

Art and Val Habbestad started Taste of Thai in Hillcrest in 1987.

“It was one of the first Thai restaurants in San Diego and one of the longest lasting Thai restaurants with the original owner still,” said Mark Habbestad, who helps manage his parents’ restaurant.

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In 1997, they opened a second location in Del Mar, but last year, a fire destroyed it.

Mark Habbestad said fire investigators ruled out arson. Several months later, they still have not been paid by the insurance.

“I asked the head firefighter, he said it looks like a total loss when I asked him how bad the damage was. That’s when the shock came in,” Habbestad said. “It’s just a one-two punch… now, with this outbreak.”

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He is now trying to keep his parents’ restaurant afloat, recently building a plexiglass barrier to install at the restaurants to protect customers and employees. That is on top of the masks and gloves employees are required to wear. However, they have still had to lay off about three-quarters of their staff with business down about 75 percent.

He is assuring those who are looking for places to eat that Taste of Thai is prepared.

“Some people don’t want to eat out right now because they’re afraid, but we clean everything really good… every hour we clean the whole restaurant,” he said. “Any support will work.”

Taste of Thai is doing take-out and delivery orders.


  • Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Saturday 12 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Sunday 12 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.