The history of Lulu’s is a history of family. Each recipe began with owner Malisa Monyakula’s grandmother, Khun Ya, her “yâa” in Thai. Khun Ya instilled in her children a passion for Thai cuisine. So when Malisa’s father, Prateeb, found himself in the United States in the 1950s, he longed for the flavors of Thailand.
Prateeb scoured Asian markets for evocative ingredients like lemon grass, coconut and chilis to replicate his mother’s incredible meals.
After returning to Thailand years later to begin a family, he bestowed on Malisa the same appreciation for Thai cooking. Hoping to simulate the experience of gathering as a family in Bangkok while now living in the Midwest, Malisa opened Lulu’s in 1997.
It operated for three years in Lawrence, Kansas, before transitioning to Kansas City.
Malisa’s vision has since flourished into three locations. Each dish is a testament to the generations spent perfecting it.