Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop’s expansion to Overland Park marks a new phase for the company centered on amplifying growth.

In December, owner and founder Malisa Monyakula hired the restaurant’s first vice president of operations, Nick Jovanovic, who most recently was VP of operations for 23 City Blocks Hospitality Group in St. Louis.

In addition to catering, the group operated event spaces, a restaurant and a wine bar. After the company sold, Jovanovic started looking for new opportunities and was drawn to Kansas City-based Lulu’s.

“This is not like every other Thai restaurant,” he said.

The branding is unique, he said, and each restaurant exudes an authentic feel, like you’re stepping into Thailand. At the same time, each location is slightly different to fit the neighborhood. Its menu resonates with patrons, evidenced by the restaurant’s 26 years in business.

Lulu’s has two existing spots, one in Westwood and one in the Crossroads Arts District. The Westwood location also houses another on-site business, a dive bar called The House.

Monyakula and Jovanovic aim to open the downtown Overland Park restaurant in April at 7921 Santa Fe Drive, which previously housed CommuniTea.

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