Emshika Alberini had a successful corporate career by the time she relocated to Littleton. Just over ten years ago, she never would have considered herself a chef, despite growing up in Thailand with her entrepreneurial mother and grandmother, both of who owned and operated their own restaurants.
Emshika, however, decided to pursue a career in business, moving to the U.S. initially to earn a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management from Sage College in Albany, N.Y.
The inspiration for her now popular Chang Thai Café came from Alberini’s sister, Ann. “I talked with my sister a lot after I moved to Littleton,” Alberini explained. “I was missing my family and planned to open a restaurant with Ann so she could be near me. I would manage the business, she would manage the cooking.”
Alberini continued, “Dreaming of our future helped me cope with everyday life so much easier.”
Then suddenly, the dream was put on hold on Alberini’s birthday in 2007. “I received a phone call at 5 a.m. I thought Ann was calling to say happy birthday, but it was the police in New Jersey calling to tell me she had passed away from a fire in her apartment.”
In grief, Alberini continued working in the corporate world. She wasn’t a chef and she didn’t know how to cook, so how could she start a restaurant on her own? “But then I remembered,” revealed Alberini, “I love to eat!”
Alberini took action with zero money and a business plan she had written in college. Bank after bank turned her down, until a family member allowed her to borrow a credit card and Alberini saved enough in a small savings account. Soon after, Chang Thai Café opened on Main Street on Oct. 31, 2008.
Despite early setbacks and Alberini expecting her first child, Chang Thai Café took off. Within the first year Alberini was able to pay off her start-up costs and Chang Thai has since been awarded Editor’s Pick Upscale Thai Restaurant by New Hampshire Magazine and Viewer’s Choice Thai Food by WMUR viewers.
Chang Thai has also been named a Top Woman-Led Business and Alberini a Most Intriguing Woman Business Leader by Business New Hampshire Magazine. Earlier this month, Cherry Bombe Magazine, a publication for women in the food industry, also listed Alberini on the Cherry Bombe 100. She was invited to speak at the annual Cherry Bombe Jubilee earlier this year in New York City. Alberini, a believer in continuous growth, is currently developing a food and beverage line inspire by her family recipes.
With 2018 marking Chang Thai Café’s tenth anniversary, Alberini is reflecting on how the restaurant got started. “I entered the food industry as a result of Ann’s spirit and have felt her guiding me ever since,” said Alberini. “Chang Thai is dedicated to her. I believe that we EAT WITH LOVE, which is what Chang Thai Café is all about.”
For more information, visit www.changthaicafe.com or call (603)444-8810.