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Few parts of my job are more satisfying than watching people embrace a small, mom-and-pop place I’ve recommended. They don’t come much smaller, or more mom-and-pop, than Nava Thai in Wheaton, a tiny operation, tucked between a Dumpster and giant air-conditioning units, which I first raved about last year (Young & Hungry, “Khlong Time Coming,” 8/22/07).

Since that column, others have also taken up the banner and spread the word about the Thai restaurant owned by Suchart and Ladavan Srigatesook, including the Post‘s Tom Sietsema (who awarded Nava a Dining Guide entry) and the Washingtonian‘s Todd Kliman (who gave the place three stars). Countless others have raved on boards and blogs as well.

Now comes the news that our area’s new favorite Thai shop must move. The landlord of Nava’s cramped parking-lot location has given the Srigatesooks until the end of the month to pack their knives and go. The couple has been scouting new locations and has narrowed down their options to spots in Bethesda and downtown Silver Spring. They’re leaning toward Silver Spring, even though the landlord in Bethesda has really been courting them.

The Silver Spring location on Bonifant Street, near Mandalay Restaurant and Cafe, would be “close to our current location, so when we move our customers can easily follow us there,” says Supida Peuwkhao, secretary to Ladavan Srigatesook.

The Srigatesooks are still hoping they might get a short extension at their current location, but so far, they’ve not heard back from their landlord on the idea. Should Nava Thai be forced to move by Nov. 30, the owners think they can be back up and operating by mid-December. Both potential locations have all the necessary kitchen equipment; they would just require a paint job to be operational.

“It’s kind of good for us,” Peuwkhao says, “because we need a bigger restaurant.”

Of course they do—-to serve all those new fans of Nava Thai.

Photo by Charles Steck.