Varut Phimolmas was lost two years ago.  Nearly two years ago to the day, his Marion restaurant, Cilantro, was in ashes after a devastating fire over Columbus Day Weekend.

In the weeks that followed, it was gut check time for Phimolmas.  His initial reaction was to relocate his business to another town.  A rebuild of the business could take a year or two, and that would be a long time to wait without any income.  However, Varut and his family were blown away by the generosity from the residents of Marion, a generosity that continues to this day.

"My contractor, the one that re-built the restaurant, has been so patient with me on payments.  I keep saying I owe you money, it's time for me to pay, but he keeps putting it off," presumably until the family could re-open the Thai restaurant and get back on their feet.

The contractor's cousin even decided to help the family saying, "I'm giving this from the bottom of my heart, and my friendship is payment enough for him," said Phimolmas.  "I just didn't expect to have this kind of person in the world.  He put his men out, but he said no money, only friendship."

Cilantro Marion via Facebook
Cilantro Marion via Facebook

Phimolmas couldn't put into words how much the generosity of the Tri-Town has meant to his family.  In an interview with Fun 107, Phimolmas said, "I know I am talking for a long time, but it's just amazing.  There are still good people and good families, especially in Marion."

The Thai restaurant has had a low-key, soft opening this past week.  Staff is trying to get reacclimated to their new digs.  The entire restaurant is brand new with some new logistical systems in place.

Phimolmas says there are no plans for a grand opening.  He said by the third night of his re-opening the entire town knew Cilantro was back.  His restaurant was filled and the phone kept ringing for take-out.  He says he loves his town and is so glad he decided to stay through the rebuild.

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