Tik’s Thai Express | Photo by Harminder Singh Langri | The Wright State Guardian
Tik’s Thai Express, located at 2808 Colonel Glenn Hwy in Fairborn is a restaurant offering authentic Thai cuisine. Customers have a wide variety of choices from the classic Pad Thai to various Thai curries and fried rice.
Coming to the United States was not something that Siriya ‘Tik’ Sripol envisioned for her life as a child. Growing up, she recalls laying on top of a water buffalo tired from the day’s work on the farm. Sripol looked into the sky and saw an airplane. She remembered wanting to someday fly in the airplane, but that seemed like a distant dream.
“I didn’t know what the United States [looked] like. I never [thought] I would come here,” Sripol said.
Sripol made that journey to the United States and introduced Dayton to authentic Thai food. Having moved from Second Street Market, to Yummy Burger, among other restaurants, Sripol’s journey has been one marked by hard work.
Her journey to the United States
Sripol grew up in rural Northern Thailand on a farm. They had no electricity and sustained themselves fully with their farm. Sripol said that medicine was the only thing her parents needed to buy as a child. As a child, she recalled fond times of riding buffalo with her siblings and playing games to pass the time. She called herself “the Buffalo Girl from North Thailand.” At the age of fifteen, she headed to the city to learn things such as housework and cooking.
Her uncle took her in to stay with a friend while she received an education in the city. Following Sripol receiving an education, she got married. At the age of eighteen, she found herself at the airport in Bangkok flying to Dallas.
After arriving, Sripol worked multiple jobs before finding her stride with the restaurant business. She opened up a stand selling Thai food at Second Street Market, a market located in Downtown Dayton with local vendors. She would drop her kids off at school and rush over to the market to prepare her food.
Sripol found that Thai food was a hit. Building off of that success, she opened more restaurants over the years, ultimately settling at Tik’s Thai Express in Fairborn. Her hard work is not going unnoticed either. Customers and employees alike have enjoyed the restaurant and community that Sripol has built.
“This family-owned business truly makes you feel at home! We love the unique atmosphere of this beautiful restaurant!” John Baker said in an online review.
Cedric Leong, an employee at Tik’s Thai Express and a Psychology major at Wright State University enjoys his time at the restaurant.
“I’ve worked at multiple restaurants before, but Tik’s Thai Express is the first place I can say I fully stand by the food and the people. We’ve kind of fostered our own community here, from our customers to our friends and families,” Leong said.
The Buffalo Girl
Syria “Tik” Sripol has raised two children, beat cancer and weathered the storm in a pandemic all while running her business. From being the Buffalo Girl dreaming of flying in an airplane to establishing herself as a successful businesswoman in Dayton, Sripol has shown that hard work truly does pay off.