Fishponds Faces

September 02 2016

The first of our Fishponds Faces is Sami Velioglu, proprietor of Everyday Thai, a small Thai restaurant tucked away at the end of New Station Road. Sami is quite the world traveller, having visited 50 countries and lived in 10, speaking seven languages, including Turkish, Arabic and Thai. He met his wife Pickky, the restaurant’s co-owner and chef, in 2009 and has lived in the UK for 30 years.

faces

The first of our Fishponds Faces is Sami Velioglu, proprietor of Everyday Thai, a small Thai restaurant tucked away at the end of New Station Road.  Sami is quite the world traveller, having visited 50 countries and lived in 10, speaking seven languages, including Turkish, Arabic and Thai.  He met his wife Pickky, the restaurant’s co-owner and chef, in 2009 and has lived in the UK for 30 years.   

 How long have you been in Fishponds? How has it changed since you’ve been here?

We opened two years ago - the site had previously been a vintage uniforms and memorabilia shop which had closed down and was lying empty.  I’m really interested in the history of the area - some black and white pictures from Bristol Then and Now show this street in Victorian times as a bustling spot, with ladies in long dresses walking by.   When we started the restaurant, it had become a very quiet corner, and over the last two years it has been nice to see it return to being busy.

 

 Favourite local spot?

I like the Railway Tavern.  The building was constructed shortly after the opening of the railway in 1866 (now the Bristol and Bath Cycle Path) and it’s a lovely place.  

 

What’s it like running a business in this neighbourhood?

Pickky trained as a computer programmer, but always wanted to open a Thai restaurant - we’re so proud to be here.  It’s nice to integrate with the community – knowing your neighbours means you can recommend services nearby.   We’ve shared expertise with Mehfil Indian Cuisine, and I really like The Cross Hands – we’ve been up there, and the people running it have eaten in Everyday Thai too.   These connections are like blood flow around the body – the more the blood flows, the better the body feels.   It’s how it should work.

 

What misconceptions might people have about you?

Everyday Thai doesn’t serve alcohol – I wonder if some think we are forcing a lifestyle down people’s throats, but it’s just our choice, and the flavours in our food are so good it doesn’t need alcohol!

 

What would you like to see more of in the area?

Reduced rates for the vacant shops, to encourage small local businesses to open.   It would bring the shops to life again and help them to flourish.   That, and I would like to see more frequent street cleaning.

 

Best piece of advice you’ve received?

Give a smile a day.  In my faith, smiling at someone is an act of basic charity, it’s the very least you can do, to brighten someone’s day.

 

What bothers you about Fishponds?

The street-drinking causes a nuisance.  I’d like to see more police officers on the beat.

 

And finally, what’s the best thing you have discovered about Fishponds?

I think it’s how popular a neighbourhood can become when new places open.  More and more people seem to be moving to the area.  I like that both the Grounded and Coffee 1 chains started small and have built up - they are really contributing to the success of the community and have made it more appealing and attractive.  I hope we’re playing a part in that too.  Pickky and I are passionate about food – she loves to feed people - and about making new friends.  I do like living in Bristol.  When I return from abroad, it’s such a comfort to come home – the M32 feels like my landing strip!