Tips from a townsperson

Katie Kasper

It is the second week of fall term and already Lawrence students have fallen into old habits and old places. When a friend poses the question, “Where should we go?,” nine times out of 10 the answer will be Erb’s, Sal’s or Taste of Thai.
Some might accuse Lawrence students of being unadventurous, but I prefer to give us the benefit of the doubt: We’re usually too busy to do anything but fall back on the well-known.
This is where I – and all of the other students who grew up in Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh and Appleton – can help. Like “Donnie Darko’s” Kitty Farmer, we transcend the bridge – sometimes a gap and sometimes a chasm – between Lawrentians and “Townies.” Therefore, we know some obscure places worthy of investigation.
If you frequent Taste of Thai and know someone with transportation, consider spending an evening in Neenah instead. Downtown Neenah is perfect for date night or an outing with friends.
Everything is on the water and within walking distance: Riverside Park, which has a kick-ass playground and a huge wadeable fountain, several boutiques and some great local restaurants. There you’ll find Cy’s Asian Bistro, a Thai restaurant that will have you doubting your love of Taste of Thai.
Vong and Cy Thounsavath, a husband and wife super-team, own this ever-pleasing restaurant and continue to maintain its personal atmosphere no matter how busy they get.
As soon as customers sit down they’re treated to a unique appetizer of homemade rice-cakes and a sweet curry. The menu includes authentic coconut milk Thai curries ranging from sweet to very hot, as well as the usual array of stir-fries, noodle dishes and appetizers.
Cy’s also offers three soups: Lemongrass, Fusion and Coconut. Everything comes with fresh, perfectly cooked vegetables.
A small restaurant, seating about 45 or 50, Cy’s enhances the cozy feel with Pure Moods CDs, dimmed lights and candles in the winter.
“It’s great to work at Cy’s,” says Sophie Leppanen – a fellow transcender of the Lawrentian-Townie gap – who has worked at Cy’s since high school. “We’re often very busy so work flies by. Sometimes at lunch there are lines going out of the door. Cy and Vong are very kind and fair owners and they are a pleasure to work for.”
So if you’re feeling in a rut and craving something new, take a trip to 208 W. Wisconsin Ave., Neenah, Wis. and spend an evening exploring a quaint city with delicious Thai in your tummy.