December 17, 2014
Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 9:50 am | Updated: 10:22 am, Wed Dec 17, 2014. Belmont Shore Santa Opens New Restaurant By Sarah George
Staff Writer Grunion Gazette Newspapers
He already has been a Los Angeles County firefighter, a parent and the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade Santa Claus. Now Brian Kight is tackling a new adventure. Kight said he opened Thailusion, a Thai Cuisine restaurant, because he wanted a place to help keep in contact and bring together friends and family. The restaurant had a soft opening on Sept. 22 and a grand opening from Dec. 8 through 14. “I just recently had a friend come in that I haven’t seen in 20 years,” Kight said. “Keeping that connection is what it’s all about.”Kight said his interest in the restaurant business stemmed from his own restaurant experience. Kight was born and raised in Long Beach, so he worked in restaurants like DiPiazza, McKenna’s Creek and Legends. Since his wife, Alisa, and other siblings have a passion for Thai cuisine; Kight thought it was essential to have a restaurant that highlights their interests as well.“I was raised to live for family, friends and community,” Kight said. “Being an integral part of other’s lives has become one of my most valuable passions.”When asked to describe Kight, childhood friends Kevin Gates and Scott Salhous said he is outgoing and very helpful.His passion for the restaurant and his career as a firefighter is evident on the restaurant’s menu, where he added some of his own recipes. Items on the menu include Fireman’s Curry and the Third Alarm Steak.“The Fireman’s Curry is a green curry with vegetables, spices and choice of meat but modified from a traditional Thai green curry for a creamier taste,” Kight said. “The curry doesn’t use MSG or other flavor enhancements.”Because of Kight’s intense research and tastings at the firehouse, Kight is proud to say the curry is the restaurant’s top selling item. Kight even trained cooks and chefs with 30 years of experience on how to make his unique recipe.The restaurant’s top seller has been used in fundraising and community events. He made close to 140 pounds of the curry to serve to almost 3,000 people at the 14th Annual Taste For Los Al, which took place in October. The event is one of the largest fundraisers for Los Alamitos High School’s activities and facilities. Over the past 13 years, it has raised $1.8 million for Los Al booster groups. Kight also made it a point to say the 140 pounds didn’t even include rice.Kight’s curry has even had an impact on the people who know him best. When asked what he likes about the restaurant, long time friend Gates said he likes the fireman’s curry and the atmosphere.Kight takes pride in community involvement, and said this is one of the reasons why he enjoys being Santa in the Belmont Shore Christmas Parade. The role was passed down to him in 2003 after his father, Mason T. Kight, could no longer do it because of knee complications. Seeing the children’s faces light up, Kight said, is what makes the family tradition so significant to him.Every year, Santa and his elves wave to gatherers on the sidewalks on Second Street as they go by on his sleigh, which sits on top of a Long Beach Fire Department’s truck. This year’s parade had an estimated 50,000 gatherers along the 15-block stretch.Kight said being Santa is a nice break from the tragedy that he sometimes sees as a firefighter. But even though he sometimes sees the unpleasant side of communities, Kight said it was a career both he and his father believed he was destined for. He said the desire to save lives started at the age of 10, when he helped his grandfather, Paul Garner, pull a woman out of a burning car and she survived.For more information on Thailusion, visit www.thailusion.com. Thailusion is at 10900 Los Alamitos Blvd. Ste. 131 in Los Alamitos.Sarah George can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.